The Maritime Museum of San Diego enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. The museum has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India.
The Museum displays permanent and temporary exhibits on maritime history, commerce and exploration and stages popular public events such as “The Chocolate Festival”, “Pirate Buccaneer Birthday Bash”, “Festival of Sail each Labor Day weekend”, and family sleepovers on the Star of India. 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’s schooner Californian takes passengers sailing on San Diego Bay and weekend adventure sails to Catalina. The museum’s ships play host to more than 200 private events each year including weddings, private parties, meeting and seminars, corporate events and charters.
The MacMullen Library and Research Archives is a resource for members as well as scholars and researchers from around the world. Along with our peer-reviewed quarterly, Mains’l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History, they encourage and enhance the study of maritime history.
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. Now fully restored, the Star of India is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers and skilled craftsmen and sailed at least once a year.
The museum’s collection also includes the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley, the 1904 steam yacht Medea, the 1914 Pilot, the state’s official tall ship Californian -a replica of a mid 19th century revenue cutter, and the H.M.S Surprise, a magnificent replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate featured in the award winning film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”
Awards and Recognition
World Records: The Star Of India is in the Guinness Book of World Records. “The oldest sea-going sailing vessel is the 1,216-tonne (1,197-ton) iron barque Star of India, built at Ramsey, Isle of Man, UK, in 1863.”
Maritime Heritage Award: The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s 1863 barque Star of India has received the most prestigious award for historic ships. On Wednesday, April 28, 1999, at 1:30 p.m., President Gerald R. Ford formally installed the World Ship Trust Award in a permanent display on board the barque Star of India.