Curatorial Department

Independence Seaport Museum's collections primary focus on the history of the Delaware River and Bay, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware; Reflecting on Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington as major commercial ports, including their shipbuilding and naval traditions and their historical roles in trade and commerce. The larger story of America’s maritime heritage is expressed in the interactions of local individuals with other parts of the country and the world. The collection of some 40,000 objects are very diverse in nature and include artworks like paintings, prints, watercolors, decorative arts, and ship models; flags,uniforms, navigation instruments, and shipbuilding  tools; ship fabric such as wheels, binnacles, engines, small boat and motors, underwater diving gear and more. The museum is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums and endeavors to follow the best practices outlined by the Association for the industry.

The Seaport Museum combines displays of more than 1,000 artifacts with hands-on computer games, large-scale models, and audiovisuals to present a dynamic environment that is both entertaining and educational.  It explores the events, people, and technologies that shaped the history of the Delaware River and Bay. Independence Seaport Museum explores all aspects of maritime history, from commercial shipping and shipbuilding to navigation, immigration, defense, outdoor recreation, the environment and underwater exploration.  These diverse topics unite in an engaging story that illustrates the important roles our rivers and waterways have played in the Delaware Valley and the nation.

Are you interested in donating a historical item to Independence Seaport Museum? Please contact Craig Bruns, Chief Curator, at or 215-413-86619.