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.
Globe from 1785Cartography
Globe made in 1785 by the Charles-François Delamarche company of Paris with coloured engravings on paper on cardboard, coloured engravings on paper on wood, metal and polychrome wood. The globe bears the inscription “Globe terrestre rediguée astronomiquement et ou se trouvent les trois voyage du capit. COOK, ses decouvertes depuis le mois d’Avril 1768 jusqu’an 14 Fév. 1779 époque de sa mort à l’Ille d‘Owhyhee, la ROUTE et le RETOUR de ses deux vaiseaux depuis la catastrophe jusqu’an 22 Aoust 1780”.
The globe is surrounded by a metal spherical arc with an exterior diameter of 36.6 cm, a width of 1.5 cm and a thickness of 0.4 cm that serves as a meridian. The arc bears the inscription “Meridien Degrés d’elevation du Pôle Longueur des Jours sous choque climat en Heures et demte Heurex Climats”. Each quadrant is labelled from 0° to 90°.
It describes the three voyages of Captain James Cook and his discoveries. The globe also shows the routes of Cook’s three voyages, with a legend explaining each. The lower half has a horizontal ring with the hours marked in roman numerals, and on the upper half there is a brass needle. The sphere is divided into 12 lunes with a meridian every 10°. The equator, the elliptic and the meridian are graded. It is interesting to note that the original meridian is the island of El Hierro. The two tropics are drawn with a different line from that of the meridians. The ring of the horizon 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.