Schools & Groups


The Shipwreck Museum Offers Schools & Organised Groups

  1. Ships & Shipwrecks from all periods
  2. Dinosaurs and Fossils
  3. Historic shoreline with contemporary relevance in the era of climate change
  4. A local museum with a local focus but with exhibits of International significance
  5. Hands-on objects up to 5000 years old
  6. Audio-visual displays and presentations
  7. Opportunity to tailor your visit to your students’ needs
  8. Material relevant to a wide range of curriculum subjects and suitable for primary and secondary schools
  9. An accessible venue for the disabled


At the Shipwreck Museum in Hastings there is a remarkable collection of artefacts and information about ships and shipping. Although our focus is principally on wrecks, we aim to use the artefacts recovered from them as stimulus for insights into the past.  Our displays also show how we learn about and understand the past from the physical remains of the ships and what they can tell us of those who used them.

Literally thousands of sunken ships are known to lie off South East England.  Hastings lies at the edge of the English Channel, one of the busiest seaways in the world, and for more than 2000 years vessels from all parts of the world have passed by these shores carrying cargoes of goods and people.

Because of the hazards of wind, weather and navigation, and sometimes human frailty, some of those ships have failed to reach their destinations.  The remains of many of them lie within a few miles of our shore.  Some indeed are held fast in the sand and mud within a very short distance of the Museum.

coins pieces of eight 3 Small

Each wreck is, in a sense, a ‘time capsule’ from the past and provides evidence for how the people at that time lived,how they built their ships, what they used them for and how they helped to shape the world we know today.

A ship, with its crew and passengers, is like a village and when that ship is lost and sinks to the bottom of the sea it is as if the contents of that village, and the lives it supported, have been frozen in time.

When a wreck is discovered, it is then up to  archaeologists, divers, historians and others to explore them scientifically and see what can be learnt about the past from the remains.

The Shipwreck Museum has objects from wrecks covering at least 1000 years of history.  Part of what we show will help you and your students get to know their past and that of the Hastings area better.

The Featured Ships

  • A 15th century sailing barge found sunk in the River Thames at Blackfriars in London,
  • The English warship Anne, run ashore and burnt (to stop her being taken as a prize) in a battle against the French in 1690.  Her remains are buried in the sand off Pett Level;
  • The Dutch merchant ship Amsterdam, sailing from Amsterdam to Java in 1749.  She was beached in a gale after her rudder had been damaged and the crew had mutinied.  Her remains lie in the beach to the west of Hastings;
  • The Thomas Lawrence, a Danish sailing ship sunk in a collision off Hastings in 1862 whilst on her way to the West Indies.  Her cargo included muskets and machetes, perfume and gin;
  • The Stirling Castle
  • The InvincibleThe Thomas Lawrencea Danish sailing ship sunk in a collision off Hastings in 1862 whilst on her way to the West Indies.  Her cargo included muskets and machetes, perfume and gin;
  • The Stirling Castle
  • The Earl of Abergaveney
  • The SS Storaa, a freighter with a colourful history (which includes an escape from enemy hands,) was bringing war supplies to England in the build-up to D-Day when she was torpedoed off Hastings in 1943.
  • The Primrose, the last Rye barge, built in the 1890s to a design hardly unchanged for 400 years.

And much else besides

Some of the audio-visual presentations include rare footage of divers exploring the wrecks and of archaeologists and other experts engaged in the essential scientific and interpretative work to make the wrecks give up their secrets.  Just how do the experts date wrecks and find out about life on board?  We show you some of the secrets.



We can even offer a chance to engage in some detective work relating to the Amsterdam.  Just what did happen on the ship in the hours leading up to the moment when Captain Klump took the decision to run her onto the beach, and just how did a musket ball come to be found near the leg of 16 year old Adrian Wegevaren, the cabin boy?

The Hastings coast itself is very interesting and our exhibits reflect this.  We can show you the remains of a pre-historic forest that was growing on the local shore 3,500-4,000 years ago (which you can still explore) and you can see fossils and other clues to what our area was like 138 million years ago.  Dinosaur footprints, armoured fish the size of a giant salmon and fossilised shark poo.  We have got them all.

We can also help you look at the possible impact of climate change and the rise in sea levels in our immediate neighbourhood.  

In short, we offer you:

  • A visit to increase knowledge, inspire curiosity, inform and entertain your students – all in the context of a friendly, local and accessible independent Trust-run museum.
  • A small but approachable team waiting to welcome you.
  • A  general visit or one tailored to your needs – in which case just discuss your aims and objectives with us beforehand.
  • Easy booking.  Use the form attached or telephone or email us.
  • We charge a nominal group  fee of £2.00 per head (smaller groups a minimum charge of £10)

We look forward to welcoming you and your students soon.

Bookings are taken throughout the year.
Click this link for Online Booking Form

Please call and book on 01424 437452 then complete the attached booking form and email or send it to the Museum.


Please take a moment to read our Educational Visits – Risk Assessment Form PDF before your visit.
This form will make you aware of the potential Hazards, Risks and Measures that can be taken to control those Risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to The Shipwreck Museum Hastings.

Educational Visits – Risk Assessment Form PDF

Educational Visit - Risk Assessment Form PDF

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