Canberra's National Museum of Australia says plans to acquire an asylum seeker boat are in the very early stages.

In 2012 the administrator of Christmas Island Jon Stanhope suggested the museum look at collecting items relating to asylum seekers arriving at the island.

Museum spokesman Dennis Grant says the timing of the suggestion was perfect.

"As it happened we had a curator who was on a private trip to Christmas Island and she had a chat to the administrator and some of the people there," he said.

But Mr Grant says there is a lot to work out before it adds another boat to the collection.

"Issues like ownership, who actually owns these vessels," he said.

"The second part of course is hugely complicated, the question of quarantine.

"That's why it's at a really early stage."

Mr Grant says it is a very interesting suggestion.

"Australian history takes some time to develop and indeed museums take some time to work out what they want in their collections," he said.

"It's an interesting stage, we're really keen to have a look at what's available, what's possible."

The museum already owns a vessel used to carry refugees from Vietnam.

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