National Maritime Museum

October 10th 2010

If the lure of the sea has any kind of hold on you at all, you’ll want to make a special stop at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa, located on the northern end of Mount Carmel. Five thousand years of the maritime history of the Mediterranean basin, the Red Sea and the Nile are covered in the museum’s three sprawling floors. If you are interested the relationship between humans and the sea, there is likely something to learn about it at the National Maritime Museum.

National Maritime Museum

Visitors enter on the second floor, where temporary exhibits, such as maritime-themed works of art, are displayed. Nearby is an auditorium where receptions, cultural events and conferences are held, and the library, offices and research rooms, ideal for students and academic researchers, are also on the second floor. The permanent exhibits appear in chronological order and are displayed on the museum’s first and third floors.

The museum boasts over 7000 artifacts, including ship models, maritime artifacts such as pottery, coins and seals, along with a large  collection of ancient maps and engravings. The permanent exhibits cover a variety of maritime topics, including maritime archeology, art and mythology, ancient anchors, Greco-Roman valuables, fish and dolphins, scientific instruments, storage jars for maritime trade, ports and islands of the Mediterranean, cartography and graphics, shipping innovations, sea battles and maritime construction.

The museum has a special emphasis on Jewish seafaring and modern Israeli shipbuilding ingenuity. Also of particular interest is the Numismatic Collection, which contains over 1000 coins decorated with maritime themes, as well as the Collection of Scientific Instruments, which includes navigational tools from as far back as the 15th century.

The National Maritime Museum is part of a consortium of six museums in Haifa, including the Haifa Museum of Art, the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art and the Haifa City Museum. Discounted admission is available for visitors who wish to tour more than one museum in the consortium. The museum is fully wheelchair-accessible, with elevator service between floors.

The National Maritime Museum shares some focuses with The Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, also located in Haifa. That museum tells the story of the struggle of Holocaust survivors and Jews from around the world to immigrate to pre-State Palestine during the British Mandate years, 1934 to 1948.