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The box that changed the world

An exciting outdoor exhibition that explores the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most important innovations: the humble shipping container.

Colourful metal boxes will be scattered like giant Lego pieces in what will be the Australian National Maritime Museum’s very first outdoor exhibition. Each box will reveal the secrets of how the shipping container has shaped our modern world, changing the way we produce, shop, eat, work and live.

Ubiquitous, standardised and universal, it’s easy to take the shipping container for granted. But some economists say this unassuming box has done more for global trade than every trade agreement signed over the past 50 years.

The container revolution began with the sailing of the Ideal-X in 1956, and in just over a decade had the makings of a global phenomenon as shipping became cheaper and faster than ever before. After more than 70 years, the sturdy container has stood the test of time, with up to 35 million on the ocean today.



Every day, 9.30am to 5pm

Thursday 26 October 2017 to Thursday 26 April 2018

Except Christmas Day


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  • Mobility access

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