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The National Waterways Museum holds the inland waterways collection at three museum sites in Englandmarker: Gloucestermarker, Ellesmere Portmarker, and Stoke Bruernemarker.

The museum is operated by The Waterways Trust and receives sponsorship from British Waterways. It is concerned with Britain's navigable inland waterways, including rivers and canals. It is an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage.
The original National Waterways Museum at Gloucester is housed in a Victorian warehouse at Gloucester Docks, in the city of Gloucester. It has a collection of boats including narrowboats, river barges, canal and river tugs, and a steam powered dredger. There is also a steam crane and heavy oil engine in the setting of a canal repair yard, complete with working machine shop, forge and weighbridge. The museum uses modern interactive techniques and hands on exhibits.

The Boat Museummarker, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshiremarker, and the Canal Museum (Stoke Bruerne Canal Museummarker), Stoke Bruerne, Towcestermarker, Northamptonshiremarker have been incorporated into the National Waterways Museum. The three museums are now branded as the National Waterways Museum at (location).

The museum is entrusted with a collection that has the status of a designated collection, as determined by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council. However, the standard of collection management has been the subject of considerable concern and criticism in the specialist press because, essentially, the museum has insufficient money to fund the upkeep of the many historic boats in the collection. Unlike the National Railway Museummarker, which receives funding direct from HM Government, the NWM only receives public money through British Waterways. During the winter of 2008-2009 opening hours were cut at Gloucester and Ellesmere Port to just two days per week in an effort to manage a tough financial situation. Some boats were advertised in Museums Journal early in 2009 for disposal, there being insufficient money for their restoration. Visitors to the Ellesmere Port site can see boats, in the care of a National Museum, sunken into the water or kept afloat by automatic pumps.

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