The museum tells the stories of the Royal Marines past and present with a vast collection of objects, paintings and archive documents. You can explore the types of objects in our collection, find out how to donate an object or discover more about your Royal Marine ancestor if you're tracing your family history.
Staff of the museum are busy behind the scenes looking after and caring for the objects, as well as researching them for exhibitions, publications and to answer public enquiries. The Royal Marines Museum collection contains over a million photographs, a million documents and 30,000 objects, which all help us to preserve the history of the Marines.
Find out more about new additions and curator’s highlights of our collection on our blog.
The museum collections are largely made up of objects generously donated by the public as well as serving and former Royal Marines. We collect lots of different types of objects from medals and uniforms, to service documents and photographs, but they all relate to Royal Marines. If you have something you’d like to give to the museum please contact our curators who will happily discuss this with you. Take a look at our blog to see recent donations.
Discovered a Royal Marine in your family history? The best place to start is to find any paper records, photos and medals you or your relatives have. Ask other relatives if they remember anything about the former Marines’ history too. Sometimes a place name or battle that they were in can tell you a lot about their role in the Marines.
Once you’ve found some basic facts you can then use our guide sheets to find out what the abbreviations are, information about their unit and about key events in Royal Marines history. If you don’t have their personal records, our handy guide will point you in the right direction.
Our archivist Matthew Little recently co-authored the book 'Tracing your Royal Marine Ancestor' which gives you much more detail about where to obtain records and how to interpret them. You can buy this from our museum shop.
Have you been through all of our research guides and followed all their recommended paths of obtaining information? If you can’t find an answer to your question, take a look at what’s in the museum archive to see if a visit might help you and you can also send your enquiry to a curator.
We are unable to undertake research on individuals on your behalf, but we may suggest you make an appointment to view archives when we feel we have something that will help your research.
Use the form below to contact one or our curators:
The archive collection at the Royal Marines Museum contains approximately a million and a half documents relating to the history of the Royal Marines. We don’t hold service papers unless the former Royal Marine or their family have donated it.
The National Archives is the principle repository for service records and official unit diaries. However, here at the Royal Marines Museum we do have some official papers and reports that have been presented to the collection from both MOD record reviewers, and personal donations. This material is derestricted or unclassified and falls within the scope of the Public Records Act of 1958. In general we will not have official records until they are 30 years old.
Much of the archive collection is unofficial, personal accounts, letters, diaries and ephemera etc along with maps, posters, and plans ranging from landing craft to barrack buildings.
To make an appointment to view the archive email us