Container: The Box that Changed the World

26 October 2017–4 July 2018

Exhibition Overview

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In today’s global world you may have drunk coffee from Brazil or a smoothie containing frozen fruit from China. You could be wearing clothes made in India, watching a TV made in Japan while sitting on a sofa containing wood from Argentina on a laminate floor manufactured in Sweden.

All of this has been made possible by a rectangular steel box - the humble shipping container.

You can literally ‘step inside the box’ to enjoy our first-ever outdoor exhibition as you explore six colourful containers scattered around the museum like giant Lego pieces. Each container covers one part of our six part exhibition.

SHIP:
Learn the history of transporting goods in crates, bales, sacks and barrels loaded by hand, and how the container now allows the world’s 1.5 million seafarers to deliver 10 billion tonnes of trade each year.

CARGO:
Discover the intricate world of trade, customs, and biosecurity, and how perishable goods are transported around the world in the ‘cold’ chain.

PORT:
See the radical transformation of ports and port cities in Australia and around the world. Have a peek behind the scenes at Port Botany, one of Australia’s busiest ports and the gateway for 99 per cent of New South Wales’ container demand.

OCEAN:
Explore the challenges mass shipping poses to our oceans, including lost shipping containers, cargo spills and acoustic pollution, and the current focus on sustainable shipping.

BUILD:
Be delighted by the quirky and innovative ways containers are used beyond shipping, including ‘small homes’, food trucks, art installations and even swimming pools.

THINGS:
Enter a glass-fronted container demonstrating the origins of everyday objects in our homes. The total number of kilometres travelled by sea by all the products in this container is 887,082 km.

(Photo: Courtesy of Australian National Maritime Museum)

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