Research at the MMB

recerca patrimoni marítim

Arxiu fotogràfic de l'MMB

The Maritime Museum of Barcelona (MMB) promotes its own research projects, and gives research support to individuals and institutions with similar interests.  One of our main tools for promoting research is the Permanent Observatory on Maritime Culture and History of the Mediterranean created in 2007, which was later joined by the University of Barcelona (UB). Through this initiative, research programs and activities organized by the Museum are linked to the University, and the academic world is provided a platform for promotion and contact with society. Among other things, the Observatory promotes the Antoni de Capmany Award for masters’ theses by students of the UB, and since 2014 it has taken part in the coordination of the Mediterranean Maritime History Network . The Observatory also participates in the editorial board of Drassana and drives other activities for research and promotion.

In addition to the University of Barcelona, the Maritime Museum of Barcelona has both temporary and permanent alliances with other cultural and research institutions with which it carries out shared projects, such as the Observatori del Patrimoni Etnològic i Immaterial; the Ramón Muntaner Institute and the Coordinadora de Centres d’Estudi de parla catalana (Coordinator of Catalan-Speaking Study Centres), with whom we organize the Jornades de Recerca Local, Patrimoni i Història Marítima (Seminar on Local Research, Maritime Heritage and History) every two years; or the Institució Milà i Fontanals

Lines of research and research programs

drassanes reials barcelona

Arxiu fotogràfic MMB

This study is our foremost line of permanent research. Knowing about the building that houses our Museum is essential, as is knowledge of the institution of the Royal Shipyards throughout different periods. Since 2000, the Museum has promoted different activities and has accumulated all manner of publications and studies Currently, we are working especially on the modern period (16th-18th centuries), with research being conducted from the Museum itself. In direct relation to this subject, the Museum is also interested in the historical arsenals of the Mediterranean.

compañía transatlántica

Arxiu històric MMB

The Compañía Trasatlántica became the principal shipping line in Spain in the last few decades of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th. It began as Antonio López y Cia. in 18th, and it closed its doors in 2010 as the Compañía Trasatlántica. This company had very strong ties to Barcelona. The MMB preserves a very significant part of the company’s collection of documents. As a result, the Museum has a permanent research program on this shipping line.

pesca pescadors fotografia

Arxiu fotogràfic MMB

Fishermen and fishing in Barcelona is the name of a permanent program in Maritime Museum of Barcelona aimed at documenting the world of fishing in the city and its surroundings. This activity is even older than the city itself, since we find evidence of fishing activity from the time when this area was first populated by humans. Nevertheless, the history of these thousands of years is not very well known, so the Maritime Museum of Barcelona seeks to promote any initiative that helps to fill this void, either through individual projects or collaborations with other institutions. One such collaboration is with the “Salvador Riera” Network for the promotion of research into the history of maritime fishing.

etnologia mar

Arxiu fotogràfic de l'MMB

Catalan maritime ethnology is a relatively recent field. The Maritime Museum of Barcelona has contributed to the study of this topic since 2005, when it became part of the Xarxa d’Antenes de l’Observatori per a la Recerca del Patrimoni Etnològic de Catalunya (Network of Antennas of the Observatory for Research into the Ethnological Heritage of Catalonia). Since then, the Maritime Museum of Barcelona has served as a territorial observatory in an area covering the central coast of Catalonia, even though in certain cases the Museum’s territorial reach extends to the entirety of the Catalan coast. Other related activities are the Maritime Ethnology Gatherings, the Oral Memory Workshops or the permanent Voices of the Sea program.

marina mercant

The study of the contemporary merchant marine, or the maritime activities taking place over the past 150 years —especially in Catalonia— is another of our permanent lines of research. One of the pillars of this research is the Veus de la Mar oral history program.

grafits mar

Finally, other occasional research projects are underway, such as our inventory of maritime-themed graffiti in Catalonia.

The Museu Marítim preserves the historical memory of the different water sports played and enjoyed in Catalonia, using a wide range of perspectives. The MMB collections include sailing and competitions in rowing, sailing and motor boating, as well as underwater activities. The Museum also explores and evokes the history of these sectors with regard to trade and industry. Vessels, books and magazines, photographs and audiovisuals, documental collections and various objects on the subject of sea sports also help to enhance the Museum’s collections.

The research project on water sports in Catalonia was presented within the framework of the 57th Saló Nàutic Internacional de Barcelona, and called for greater collaboration with the people from this sector.


The Maritime Museum of Barcelona has a series of editorial tools, some of which are directly tied to research. Research carried out directly by the Museum or supported by it is added to the Col·lecció Estudis (Studies Collection). Some of the books included are works resulting from research awards, while others are Museum commissions or studies that were considered appropriate for the collection.

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