Take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Maritime Heritage Centre in the historic Wharf 7 building.
Learn about the changing history of Darling Harbour, see our conservation laboratory, ship model workshop and marvel at the large open plan storage spaces which house over 100,000 objects rarely seen on public display.
This is an exciting chance to hear from expert guides about the inner workings of the Sydney Heritage Fleet and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
What is the tour about?
The Australian National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Heritage Fleet (SHF) collaborate to show more than 135,000 objects owned by these two organisations that are objects not normally on public display.
Behind the scenes are some of the gems of both organisations’ collections from small boats to ship models of all types, to kayaks, to catamarans, skiffs, Olympic yachts and other historic boating gems, to paintings and marine engines plus many oddities from earlier maritime days. You also have a chance to look into various behind the scenes workshops where conservation and restoration is being undertaken, where staging for exhibitions is being prepared for and packed for shipment to other museums and into a model workshop where dedicated volunteers are building intricate ship models.
Your guide will tell you stories about what you are seeing.
Where is it?
Behind the Scenes tours take place in Wharf 7, a reconstruction of the original one hundred-year-old wharf building, known as the ‘Heritage Centre’ located immediately behind the white museum building just beyond the Pyrmont Ferry Wharf. The building also houses offices, the libraries and research centres of both museums.
The wharf area is where the 1874 tall ship James Craig is berthed together with the red lightship, Carpentaria. The guide can meet you in the foyer of the museum and walk with you to Wharf 7 or can meet you in the foyer of the Heritage Centre at Wharf 7.
Currently tours are being held at 12 noon on Thursdays but with prior arrangement, group tours could be held at other times depending on guide availability. The tour takes around 45 minutes but can be expanded depending on how much time the visitor has. It can be tailored for groups’ particular interests.
If you are at either museum building on Thursday morning and would like to do the tour, please meet the guide either at 11.55 at the Front Desk (white building) to walk to Wharf 7 or wait for the guide to arrive at the Wharf 7 Desk at around 12.05.
FREE for Big Ticket holders or those on the James Craig Tour. See our Tickets for prices.
Please note: Tours limited to 15 people only.
See our Plan your visit for for everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.
After the tour
At the end of the tour there is more if you wish. The ground floor area of the Wharf 7 Heritage Centre is open to the public and can be accessed any time the building is open.
Here there are many heritage small boats displayed, some with audio visual aids. These exhibits are clearly labelled but should you wish, and if you have time, your guide can take you around this area as well. One of the highlights is access to the Australian Register of Historic Vessels – a virtual museum in its own right.