Blockbuster line-up

The Australian National Maritime Museum launched their 2020 program of exhibitions, events and experiences, at a gala event at their Darling Harbour waterfront location.

Photography by Kate Pentecost

27 November 2019


The year begins deep in prehistoric waters, with the Sea Monsters exhibition, and ends in the canals of Venice, the spectacular yet fragile ocean city. In‑between these two major exhibitions, the Museum’s 2020 programming will take visitors around the world.

The Museum’s 2020–21 summer blockbuster spectacular will see the majestic and romantic, yet incredibly vulnerable city of Venice come to life.

Visitors will be invited to come explore the famous city’s inhabitants as they live, love, Carnevale, and deal with climate change – right on the edge of the Adriatic Sea.

The record-breaking, crowd favourite Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is back for the fourth year, and better than ever – for the first time in Australia in a brand new large format with back‑lit panels.


“The Maritime Museum is so much more than a museum – my vision is that we might genuinely shape and impact the very nature of how Australians understand, love and preserve our history with, and of the sea in new and profound ways,” comments Kevin Sumption PSM, Australian National Maritime Museum CEO and Director.

2020 marks 250 years since Captain James Cook and the HMB Endeavour charted the East Coast of Australia. The Museum’s extensive 14 month Encounters 2020 program looks at this historic event and its lasting impact on Modern Australia.

The Museum will journey around the Pacific, meeting the cultures that Cook encountered 250 years ago in exhibitions like HERE: Kupe to Cook, developed by the Pataka Art Museum, and the National Library of Australia’s Cook and the Pacific.

Paradise Lost: Daniel Solander’s Legacy examines the legacy of the Endeavour botanist Daniel Solander and the first encounter between Sweden and the Pacific Region.

In May the Museum will host the bold Defying Empire exhibition from the National Gallery of Australia which explores the ongoing resilience of Australia’s Indigenous people since first contact, through to the historical fight for recognition and ongoing activism in the present day.

The Museum will offer a reflection of all seafarers who have explored Australia’s waters through the new Under Southern Stars gallery, due to open in April 2020.

The biennial Classic and Wooden Boat Festival will once again sail into the spectacular Darling Harbour in May, with over 33,000 visitors expected. Guests can test their wits and expand their horizons through the Murder Mystery and Ocean Talks programs held throughout the year. Meanwhile, the Museum’s education and digital teams have been hard at work developing new online games and films, and expanding the Ocean Science and Underwater ROV programs.

2019 was a record-breaking year for the Museum, welcoming a total of 2.1 million visitors, including 32,007 students and 89,329 international visitors, hosting 300 corporate events and a total of 30,000 delegates. The Museum currently enjoys the support of 15,000 members and benefits from the dedicated work of 600 volunteers.


  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement