The best model ship collections in the world

As lovers and creators of finely crafted bespoke model ships, we are always on the lookout for collections that inspire and delight us.

Here, we’ve managed to focus on 5 of the most extensive and impressive collections in the world, all of which reflect the true majesty and spectacle of the maritime world.

National Maritime Museum – London

Royal Museums Greenwich holds a staggering collection of over 3500 models, some of which date all the way back to Ancient Egypt and many of which date from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The collection is not only vast but it’s eclectic too, containing everything from towering warships to humble fishing vessels. There are also several topographical models of some of the world’s most famous dockyards and docks and models of more intricate ship equipment.

The collection was founded in the early 19th century by Sir Robert Seppings, who first kept the models at Somerset House. In 1934, however, when the National Maritime Museum was established, the collection was merged with the existing Greenwich Hospital Collection and Mercury Collection. In the last 90 years, however, the collection has grown even further and continues to grow to this day.

Merseyside Maritime Museum – Liverpool

A collection of over 200 merchant vessel models is kept on display at the museum in Liverpool. You’ll also find the Dashwood-Howard collection of ships in bottles, which is truly one of the more unique collections you’ll find on this list. The rest of the ships are broken into three groups – “Arts and the Sea,” “Emigrants to a New World” and “Titanic and Liverpool,” the latter of which is obviously framed around the doomed passenger ship that sailed from Liverpool docks.

United States Naval Academy Museum – Maryland

On the 2nd deck of the Naval Academy Museum in Maryland, you’ll find one of the largest collections of warship models in the world. Each representing a real-world ship, the Rogers Ship Model Collection includes pieces dating from 1650 to 1850 and features the 96-gun St George, which is a truly remarkable and intricate piece that needs to be seen to be believed.

These 108 ships constitute the only physical record of many ships built during the so-called “Age of Sail” and were originally built for the British Admiralty.

Named for the officer who gifted it to the academy in 1935, The Rogers collection ranges from a gigantic, first-rate ship with over 100 guns to smaller vessels, as well as a royal yacht and admiral’s barge. A truly unique and special collection.

South Street Seaport Museum – New York

A truly gigantic collection of over 1000 models can be found within this modern New York institution, representing the largest collection in the US.

You’ll also find several other important maritime artefacts and the museum itself is worth visiting for the fact it’s located on the site of the original Port of New York. Curators also regularly hold model building demonstrations for eager visitors.

Doran Bay Model Ship Museum – Ontario

Located in Ontario, Canada on the iconic Heritage Trail, this museum represents a step back in time with one of the world’s largest collections of wooden model ships.

The exclusively wooden ship collection includes models made from some of the finest woods known to man and models up to 7-feet long, each displayed with a descriptive history of the ship in question.

The ships referenced range from early Egyptian models all the way to modern steamers. The museum boasts a rotating collection of over 125 models in a gorgeous period cottage and also features many famous vessels from Canadian history, as well as several Spanish Galleons and a range of ships from the American Revolution.

There is an undeniable joy in exploring your passion on holiday and given the world-spanning nature of these fascinating collections, for model ship collectors, aficionados and builders, the list above represent an ideal vacation bucket list. If you feel there are there any collections you feel we have missed, however, be sure to let us know.