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RNLI collections

The diverse range of objects in our historic collections date back to our foundation in 1824 right through to present day.

Museum art collections
Model of Clovelly RNLI’s self-righting pulling and sailing lifeboat, Alexander and Matilda.

The central repository for our collections is based at RNLI Support Centre in Poole, Dorset, along with our archive and library.

Objects include:

  • a fine art collection
  • medals and certificates
  • model lifeboats
  • technical plans
  • fundraising memorabilia
  • lifesaving equipment and kit
  • clothing.

In addition, collections at our eight museums celebrate some of our historical events, people and local lifeboat history. 

Historic items are also displayed in many lifeboat stations and visitor centres.

Inside the RNLI Grace Darling Museum at Bamburgh, Northumberland
RNLI Grace Darling Museum
Dedicated to heroine Grace Darling who rescued nine people from the wreck of the steamship SS Forfarshire in 1838.
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Inside the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum at Cromer, Norfolk
RNLI Henry Blogg Museum
Relive the life of Coxswain Henry Blogg, the RNLI’s most decorated lifeboatman, who served 53 years at Cromer.
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Lifering from the SS Rohilla at the Whitby RNLI Lifeboat Museum in North Yorkshire
Whitby RNLI Lifeboat Museum
Once an RNLI lifeboat station, this Victorian double boathouse celebrates Whitby’s award-winning lifeboat history.
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The RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent
RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection
Get close to RNLI lifeboats through the ages with this impressive collection at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent.
Visit the Collection
Inside the Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Museum in East Sussex
Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Museum
Housed in the 1898 RNLI William Terris Memorial Boathouse, learn about the history of lifeboating in this Sussex town.
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Inside the Salcombe RNLI Lifeboat Museum in Devon
Salcombe RNLI Lifeboat Museum
Experience over 140 years of courageous lifesaving history, featuring award-winning rescues and lifeboat disasters.
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Outside view of the Moelfre RNLI Seawatch Centre
Moelfre RNLI Seawatch Centre
The Seawatch Centre tells the story of Moelfre's maritime and lifeboat history, including medal winning rescues, historical shipwrecks and fascinating artefacts.
Moelfre RNLI Seawatch Centre
Poole Old Museum Front
Poole Old Lifeboat Museum
Lifeboats crewed by the people of Poole have been helping those in trouble at sea since 1865. Poole Old Lifeboat Museum documents the history of the RNLI in Poole from that time, right up until the present day. 
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