The Maritime Museum of San Diego is dedicated to preserving the heritage of maritime history. To this end, it restores, displays, maintains and operates a number of historic and replica vessels. The Museum also displays permanent and temporary exhibits and stages popular public events such as “The Chocolate Festival,” “Pirate Buccaneer Birthday Bash” and the “Festival of Sail each Labor Day weekend. Thousands of school children from throughout Southern California visit the museum each year for a variety of dockside and at-sea educational programs.
The museum displays an expansive collection of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship: The Star of India, which was built in 1863 and served as a merchant ship until 1926. It was restored from 1962-1963 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It is also a Califonia Historic Landmark. The museum also features two submarines, the Soviet-made B-39, and the USS Dolphin. A replica vessel, HMS Surprise, was used in the films Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The museum’s schooner, the Californian, takes passengers sailing on San Diego Bay and weekend adventure sails to Catalina. The museum’s ships also play host to more than 200 private events each year including weddings, private parties, meeting and seminars, corporate events and charters.
Founded in 1948, the museum grew out of the earlier efforts of a group of local historians and maritime enthusiasts who acquired the sailing ship Star of India in 1927.
The museum also houses the MacMullen Library and Research Archives is a resource for members as well as scholars and researchers from around the world and produces a quarterly journal titled Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History.