The Port Adelaide Nautical Museum is the oldest maritime collection in Australia. Begun in 1872 as the general museum of the Port Adelaide Institute, the collection represents both the local community and the destinations of ships and crews.
The Institute was part of a great nineteenth century movement for self-education that finally led to public libraries, schools and museums. First established in 1851 by businessmen and community leaders, it grew to become a cultural and social centre of the Port.
The collection is presented as an historic museum within a museum. With its antique showcases and hand-written labels the Nautical Museum offers a window to the past – to the history of collecting and the culture of the sea.