Maritime Museum of San Diego Fact Sheet
The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s mission is to serve as the community memory of our seafaring experience by collecting, preserving and presenting our rich maritime heritage and historic connections with the Pacific world.
Founded in 1948, the Maritime Museum of San Diego enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. The museum brings adventure and discovery to life through interactive exhibits, volunteer opportunities, and educational outreach. The Maritime Museum of San Diego has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India. The museum, located on the North Embarcadero in downtown San Diego, is open to visitors daily. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site at www.sdmaritime.org
Historic Ship Collection
The Maritime Museum of San Diego hosts one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, which represent a unique set of international, national and state narratives. Visitors are invited to step aboard each of the historic ships to explore and discover their rich, living history.
- Star of India (1863): This iron-hulled beauty is the oldest active ship in the world and a state and national historic landmark
- Berkeley (1898): The first successful propeller driven steam ferry on the west coast and a state and national historic landmark
- Medea (1904): This steam yacht is from the age of conspicuous wealth
- Pilot (1914): The oldest pilot boat still in service on the west coast
- USS Dolphin (1968) US Navy submarine with the record for the deepest dive
- H.M.S. Surprise (1970) replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate
- B-39 (1967) Soviet attack submarine designed to track US and NATO warships during the Cold War
- Californian (1984) replica of a mid 19th century revenue cutter
The Maritime Museum of San Diego hosts a number of exhibits on board its
collection of ships to engage visitors and bring the ships’ history to life.
- Age of Sail
- Age of Steam
- San Diego's Navy
- Charting the Sea-Ocean Exploration
- Harvesting the Ocean-San Diego’s Commercial Fishing Industry
As a museum of living history, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is indebted to its many members, docents and volunteers who are actively engaged in bringing adventure and discovery to life for the museum’s many visitors.
- 2,700 Members
- 575 Volunteers
- 130 Docents
- 160 Volunteer Maintenance/Sail Crew
- 105,500 volunteer hours logged in 2010
- Average annual attendance: 220,000
The Maritime Museum of San Diego offers a variety of educational programs for school groups K-12, scouting programs and adults. The museum hosts a variety of dockside and at-sea educational programs serving over 15,000 students each year:
- History and science programs
- Dockside and at sea programs
- Day and overnight programs
- Living history programs
Curricular content for all educational programs is aligned with the California State Science and Social Studies framework for grade levels K-12.
The ships that comprise the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s collection are both beautiful and versatile. As such they host approximately 160 special private events each year. Past events have included weddings, corporate events, private receptions, meetings and luncheons. Each ship has its own unique persona, as well as history, that can add to events.
- Facilities for up to 1,200 on the Berkeley
- Facilities for 600 on the Star of India
- Charters for up to 60 persons on the Californian
- Burials at Sea
- Themed Events and Kid's Birthday Parties
Popular Public Events
The museum hosts many events throughout the year to engage visitors and bring history to life. Such past and annual events include:
- Festival of Sail each Labor Day weekend: A majestic celebration and opportunity to see the full Maritime Museum of San Diego fleet at sail.
- Chocolate Festival: A family friendly event with vendors focusing on chocolate edibles, fun & crafts for kids (including making their own chocolate pizza), demonstrations and other interesting items for adults.
- Pirate Buccaneer Birthday Bash: Don your pirate outfit, dust off your eye patch and come on down to the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Pirate caps included for your lil rascals.
- Sea Chantey Festival: Sailor’s songs come to life with life music recreating popular sea chanteys. Presented in partnership with the San Diego Folk Heritage.
- Family Sleepovers: Each summer families travel back in time with the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s living history staff and spend a night aboard the Star of India, the world's oldest active ship.
- For current and upcoming events view our public events calendar Click here, and our Public Events main page Click here.