The Maritime Museum of San Diego has a high reputation all over the world for maintenance, restoration and operation of historic vessels. This museum hosts the world’s exquisite collections of historic ships, which also include the oldest active ship in the world; The Star of India acquired in 1927. Our maritime museum came into existence in 1948 growing from a prior effort of local marine enthusiasts and historians. The Museum serves as the whole community’s memory of every of our seafaring experience by collection, preservation and presentation our rich maritime heritage and historical links and connections with the Pacific world.
The purposes of this museum are; providing a safekeeping location for cultural materials. It also showcases the evidence of the continuous influences of the maritime enterprise on our daily lives with the help of innovative and engaging exhibits, educational programs, cultural events and publications. The Maritime Museum San Diego also adequately preserves traditional cultures, advanced skills and knowledge of the whole sea enterprise.
There is a display of temporary and permanent exhibits on maritime, numerous exploration and commerce history in the museum. Temporary special exhibits are rich in historical photographs, exquisite fine art and sculpture to certain specific settings, which add depth, and context to the primary subject matter. These often highlight the Pacific or regional maritime history. They include a variety of the creative works of a living artist in the marine or naval history fields. The exhibits may also have different genres in the depiction of seaports or ships.
The permanent exhibits include all sea vessels, arts and artifacts that feature the world’s exquisite collections of historic ships. Throughout this incredible museum, in-depth stories of different ships and vessels are related in the form of images and artifacts. These images represent a lost world, which is our grandparents’ distant memories and our world of dreams. Two of the vessels, which are on display in the museum, are National Historical Landmarks. They two of them are unique and represent a detailed and wider maritime culture.
On board, these ships is a wide variety of onboard exhibits, which include an original collection of photographs, artworks and the most exquisite collections of all the ship models in the United States. The perennial exhibits display a diverse legacy of San Diego’s Maritime. They parade the legacy right from the events that led to the contact and conflicts between the first European explorers to set foot on American soil and the Native Americans. Additionally, it displays the region’s consistent development into the largest concentration of naval power in the whole world. They also exhibit San Diego from its earliest commercial fishing ventures to its advanced establishment as a major hub for underwater research.
The permanent exhibit is set up in five galleries that represent all the major themes of maritime history with their relation to San Diego, its harbor and its strategic location on the Pacific. The five permanent exhibits include Age of Steam; Age of Sail, Harvesting the Ocean, Charting the Sea and San Diego’s Navy. The museum also stages major public events like family sleepovers on the Star of India and other annual repetitive events.
Event Venues The museum avails its ships for use as events venues, which are set up in the most iconic manner. All preparations and planning for your special event are done with the assistance of an expert coordinator. Whether it is sailing charters, conferences, corporate events, weddings, birthdays and life celebration through ashes scattering, you are guaranteed to find your most exquisite venue choices in the museum. Our skilled and hospitable staff will always ensure that get an incredible, memorable and unique experience. The museum also hosts team-building programs, exclusive private events, individual themed events and all other waterfront activities of your choice and specification. Our very professional staff is always able to customize almost all services creating a suitable ambiance for your special event. They offer different types of menus; Menu Continental Catering, Menu San Diego Catering, Menu Creative Catering, Beverage Services and Menu Seafaring Catering. Also on our offer are general rental information and several budget menus that are available on request. Our venues on offer to host your events are the Berkeley and the Star of India, which are National and State Historic Landmarks, the Californian, the State’s official Tall Ship, together with the HMS Surprise. It is a replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate that was used Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The main factors that will influence your choice of venue are the ships’ unique nature, stunning waterside settings, our ships’ rich history and quality of our catering, services as well as attention to details. The museum hosts at least 200 private events every year.
Museum Collections Well preserved in the Berkeley, the historic ferry is the archives, the library and a collection of objects. They fully specialize in demystifying the story of human interaction with the oceans and seas particularly in the Pacific region. These documentation and resources exist to help in the interpretation of the museum’s collection of maritime-related objects and sea vessels. The MacMullen Library and Research Archives are restricted for Foundation members’ use only though members of the public are permitted also allowed to apply for special limited use of the facilities. The histories of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, and Coastal California are adequately represented in this collection. In the archives and library are photographic and moving images, written records and oral histories with full details entailing the careers of emigrant ships like Star of India and the Euterpe. The Berkeley also epitomizes ferryboats. Consultation and research are done only by appointment. Also found in the archives is 18th and 19th century warships like Californian and Surprise, stylish steam yachts and harbor work boats like ‘Pilot’.
Education Programs The museum gives you a chance to explore the great age of steam and sail on the San Diego downtown waterfront. Here, children are given an opportunity to learn about sea science and relive history as it was centuries ago. All our archives and collections of ships provide high-quality education programs for thousands of children every year. Also on offer is a variety of educational programs for scouts, adults, families and K-12 school groups. What sets us apart from other museums is our ability to set sail and take our ships deep into the sea for multi-day adventures. We also take historic longboats rowing for adult or youth team building programs in the San Diego Bay. Our adequately knowledgeable and highly specialized instructors can facilitate education workshops and programs simultaneously as our trained docents lead Museum Guided Tours.
Adult Education The adult education programs that we offer include docent training programs, celestial navigation educational segments, and Elderhostel. The docents are our volunteer teachers. They interpret all our museum’s collections and exhibits for our visitors. These teachers also lead organized tours designed for scouts, grade scholars, and all the conventioneers. We do accept at any time all individuals who wish to volunteer as docents. Training is acquired through Docent Mentorship Program, training classes for docents or a mix of both. A prerequisite condition for acceptance into the program is a museum membership. Formal training happens on an annual basis starting in early January and running for 13 consecutive weeks. Training sessions take place on Tuesdays.
Seniors can also enjoy an excellent exploration of San Diego’s rich maritime history through weeklong lecture programming that is a part of Elderhostel’s program. The learning program includes hoisting sails, exploring every exhibit and studying on the different vessels in the collections. The seniors are also involved in field trips, which include a Harbour tour on the Bay and a visit to the Cabrillo National Monument. Their lectures cover a variety of topics including West Coast Discoveries, Ancient Mariners and their Traditions together with Bounties from the Sea and Land. The Celestial Navigation class integrates a history of maritime exploration, scientific advances, great voyages and seaborne settings. The program equips the learners in addition to information on how celestial navigation happened in the past centuries and how to do it currently. The class takes place on the Berkeley ferryboat, and the practical bits of the study are conducted on the Californian.
The Maritime Museum San Diego also offers overnight family adventures in which your family will be involved in setting up sails, rowing boats, exploring the Bay Harbour. You will then spend the night in the museum right after you witness the cannon firing event organized to complete your night of adventure making it entirely exquisite and memorable. The importance of our museum is that it gives all our visitors and us a chance to bond with our ancestors. In the process we discover how they lived, their hopes and dreams, their thoughts about where they lived and their reasons for traveling long distances by sea. In addition, you can learn the factors which influenced their decisions to settle down in a part of the world where they knew nothing or little about. All these collections and activities make Maritime Museum San Diego the ultimate destination for learning about the world’s maritime and sea exploration history.
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