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.
Model of an 80-gun shipModel ships
Shipwright’s model (a scale model used as a prototype for the construction of a real ship) built in the Arsenal of Havana, in Cuba, towards 1740. In an era when ships were not built with blueprints, shipyards tended to have three-dimensional models that served as references for the construction of full-sized ships. In this case, the model probably served as a guide for the construction of the ships San Carlos, San Luís and San Fernando, launched in Havana between 1765 and 1767.
This model was sent from Havana to the Iberian Peninsula, to the arsenals of Cartagena and Ferrol. In 1808, an officer from the Napoleonic army carried it to France and later, during World War I, the model ended up in the United States. It was lost until 1985, when the New Bedford Whaling Museum recuperated it and donated it to the Maritime Museum of Barcelona.