The Cunard Story Aboard The Queen Mary

Opening Daily | 10AM - 6PM


The Cunard Story - an exhibition on the Queen Mary, one of the most celebrated Cunard® ocean liners—explores the rich history of the extraordinary company that designed and built more than 150 ships over the past 175 years. Today, Cunard offers the most luxurious and unique cruise experiences available—adventures curated for travelers who savor the world.

Sir Samuel Cunard (1787-1865) founded the Cunard Line. In 1839 he formed the British and American Royal Steam Packet Company, which was later renamed the Cunard Steamship Company Limited. Ships of the Cunard Line would grow larger, safer, and faster over time. By the 1930s and with the advent of the superliners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, opulence and high style also became hallmarks of the iconic brand. Today, the Cunard Line flagship Queen Mary 2 is the largest trans-Atlantic liner ever built.

Some of Cunard's earliest ships took immigrants from Europe to Canada and the United States. Many of these travelers fled oppression, hunger, and instability in their homelands. Many sought to join family and friends already in North America.

The period from 1892 to 1924 was the largest human migration in modern history. Shipping lines like Cunard kept detailed passenger lists-- or ship manifests-- which recorded the arrival of immigrants, passengers, and crew members. These records, now digitized, contain the lists of nearly 65 million immigrants who traveled through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1820 and 1957. 

Did your ancestors arrive in North America on a Cunard liner? 

Use the computers located in the Cunard Story to search for your ancestors by passenger name, date, ship name, and more. 

Known today for luxury, cruise ships and ocean liners come from a lineage that’s surprisingly scrappy, competitive, and innovative. Even though they are well-known, tragic stories like the Titanic are the exception—outweighed by tales of everyday courage, heroism, and hard work from the men and women who crewed and sailed aboard these iconic ships. For every movie star who paraded on the deck, there were thousands of soldiers ready to defend freedom overseas and hundreds of immigrants whose hearts beat with hope for a better life.

Join us as we explore how amazing ships like the Queen Mary and today’s Cunard fleet of flagship Queen Mary 2®, Queen Victoria®, and Queen Elizabeth® are dreamed of, designed, and built.