Tapestry of Treasures: The First Nautical Museum

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 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 eclectic selection of seafarers’ crafts and souvenirs, Tapestry of Treasures offers a window into the past – to the history of collecting and the culture of the sea.

The South Australian Maritime Museum and History Trust of South Australia acknowledges the First Nations peoples of South Australia, whose connection to country and living cultures began in time immemorial and continues to the present. We affirm our commitment to advancing reconciliation.