Among the 70-plus original paintings, including some of the best examples of the maritime genre on display, are seascape paintings by Dutch masters of the 17th century, works from the 18th and 19th century by English Romantic painters, a French Impressionist painting, more contemporary works, and the largest collection of museum-quality ship models on the West Coast. The more than 80 models include the Marple Models, nine exquisite, highly detailed scratch-built representations of mostly British warships and an amazing group of “bone models” carved from soup bones by French soldiers held captive during the early 19th century Napoleonic wars. Upstairs from the main exhibit areas and museum store is an Upper Deck for exhibits on Navigation, Whales, Life of a Sailor, featured temporary exhibits, art receptions, and Third Thursday lectures.
Museum windows look out over the Channel Islands Harbor’s passing sailboats and gorgeous views. The sea lions on the dock out front add tremendous character to the traffic stream. Visitors can view the art on their own or take advantage of the museum’s knowledgeable, free guides.