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Brunel's SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain

Great Western Dockyard




tel: +44 (0)117 926 0680




email: [email protected]; [email protected]


Twitter: @SSGreatBritain


Instagram: @SSGreatBritain



Contact details: Nick Booth; Mollie Bowen


Date of visit: 30 August 2019


Nature and extent of collection


210 pieces. The whole collection has been  Designated by Arts Council England, and focuses on IK Brunel, 19th Century Engineering and Maritime History with a focus on the change from sail to steam. The numismatics collection consists of around 210 pieces. The Collection focuses on 19th century medals and coins, the majority of which relate to one of IK Brunel's (1806-1859) projects, with some more recent anniversary coins and medals. The Collection is still actively being expanded.



All numbers below are estimated


British coins: 60, including several commemorative £1 and £2 coins produced by the Royal Mint featuring Brunel-related reverse designs

Medals (commemorative or military): 150, including several medals commemorating the launch of SS Great Britain and her maiden voyage and other Brunel and engineering related projects - such as the Thames Tunnel, SS Great Eastern etc.





Specific strengths: commemorative medals.


Library: specialist maritime library with 19th century engineering specialism.





Database used: Access for accession register; Adlib as CMS


Proportion of collection on database: 100% of coin collection.


How much detail in database entries? Each record contains a small amount of information.


Are images incorporated? Yes, around 90% of records include images.


Is the database accessible to the public? No.


Is the database publicly accessible online? No.





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? No.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Yes, magnifying glasses and gloves are provided, as is wifi.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? No.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? No.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? No.


Are there other engagement activities based around numismatic collections? Coins and medals have featured in our regular Archive in Five sessions where staff and volunteers share the stories around objects in the collection with visitors to the Brunel Institute.



























ID and public enquiries


Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? Yes.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? No.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? No.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? No.

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