The Maritime Museum’s collections are extremely rich and varied. They include pieces ranging from a ship that still sails to a postal stamp, or from a steam engine to a 14th-century manuscript. Of course, they also include everything you expect to find in a maritime museum: binnacles, anchors, model ships, navigational tools, etc. In other words, all sorts of documents and objects from the miniscule to the huge, from all different periods and made of all sorts of materials. For decades, the Museum has gathered examples of the maritime past, a heritage that reminds us of the lives of seafarers, the histories of ships and maritime activities in peacetime or war.
We would like to offer a selection of objects and documents that are notable for their historical interest, their rarity or their aesthetic value. These can give you a general idea of the content of the Museum’s collection. However, do not forget that there is a great deal beyond this selection, with thousands of artefacts and documents that you can discover using our search engine or other resources.
We encourage you to take a stroll through some of the key pieces in our Museum’s collection, grouped into twelve categories to help you keep your bearings.
Celestial sphere from 1805Cartography
Celestial sphere made by the Charles-François Delamarche company of Paris in 1805, with coloured engravings on paper on cardboard and coloured engravings on paper on wood, metal and polychrome wood. The sphere bears the inscription “Globe celeste dont la position des Etoiles est reduite a l’année 1800 par M. Messiers astronome de la Marine, de l’Acadèmie Rle des Sciences Ec. Ec.”
The constellations can be seen with their names and corresponding classical figures in colour. The upper half has a horizontal ring with the hours marked in Roman numerals and a brass needle. The sphere is divided into 12 lunes, and the equator and the elliptical are graded. The sphere also has a 7-cm wooden horizon with coloured engravings on paper and the edges painted red. This ring is decorated with the symbols of the zodiac, the months of the year and the directions of the winds, with double grading and a difference in degrees. The tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are only present as lines.