National Shipbuilding Exhibition, Ferrol Naval Museum

The National Shipbuilding Exhibition, also known as EXPONAV, opened its doors to the public on March 10, 2008 at the Ferrol naval base (La Coruña), Spain, as the main Spanish maritime museum dedicated to the history of shipbuilding in the world and in particular in Spain. It is considered by experts as the most complete in Europe in its subject. The Exhibition constitutes one of the branches object of the Foundation for the Promotion of the knowledge of the Naval Construction and the Maritime Activities, another branch of enormous interest is the vast documentary legacy in the form of monographs, plans and other documents, at the service of the investigator.

EXPONAV was born as a joint initiative developed by the Spanish Navy and the Association of Naval Engineers of Spain. Together with INNOVAMAR different entities have participated such as:

Ministry of Development of Spain,
Junta de Galicia (Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Culture),
Provincial Council of La Coruña,
Ferrol Town Hall,
Ferrol Port Authority,
Ferrol University Campus (UDC),
Navantia, among others.

EXPONAV is a technical sample aimed at both the shipbuilding professional, naval engineering, marine professional, and the individual without greater knowledge of shipbuilding.

1.The professional can find in it a tour of the various ship building techniques, most unknown to current professionals who make the exhibition an almost unavoidable professional visit.
2.For the “uninitiated” is the discovery of a technical world principle of historical communication between peoples and therefore of cultural and human expansion throughout the ages.

The Museum has two distinct parts, on its ground floor we find a tour through the history of shipbuilding, starting with the Shipyards and the various forms of “birth” of a ship, which is followed by a large sample of the wood construction, comparing its various techniques. In this area we find the remains of the wreck of the Magdalena Frigate, sunk in the year 1810 in the Viveiro estuary. The plant continues to show us the construction to this day, contemplating its various facets and stages, from the way of joining its multiple parts, to the behavior of the ship in various navigation conditions, through the design stages.

The ground floor completes a tour of the propulsion forms of ships, from rowing to turbines, through boilers and engines, as well as a comparative sample of the accommodations of the endowments of the ships, of the XVIII century and those of today. Along the way we find several automatons that the visitor can use to know in a practical way the rooms where he is; for example motor automatons, the flexibility of a ship, the stability, etc.; All of them can and should be activated by the visitor.

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On the top floor of the Museum, we find several thematic rooms: Ship Typology; a room dedicated to Astano “Milagro en la Ría”, another dedicated to the Navy, its Schools, its Ships; to Ports; to Shipping Companies; Maneuver and Rescue on ships; to auxiliary devices, etc. And we are in the task of showing a room dedicated to Electricity, Electronics and Communications.

There is ample visiting hours, being open to the general public every day of the year, with guided tours for both groups and schools; You only need a few days in advance to accommodate the hourly needs of the application. To conclude the school visit, they offer the possibility of going to our knot workshop, where the counterpart and collaborator José María Díaz González will teach how to make the most affordable knots at the age of the attendees, from 7 years to 16, although He has also had some experience with university students of the Naval and Oceanic Engineering degrees of the Higher Polytechnic School of Ferrol. And for the little ones they have a painting workshop where they will learn more about the sea. For those schools or groups that need a few minutes of rest (the little ones for the “little meriendita” in the morning), They have the necessary space. At present, the museum has a new website, much more dynamic than the previous one, to which aExponav blog where the Secretary of the Foundation, Raúl Villa Caro, publishes biweekly news related to the sea.

The Blacksmithing Building
With the constitution of the EXPONAV Foundation, the project for the recovery and restoration of the historic building of «Blacksmiths» and the germ of the Naval Construction Museum, which is currently in that building, was completed.

The Shipbuilding Museum, is housed in a building like no other in which the old Blacksmiths were, perfectly recovered from both the technical and architectural point of view. It has museum and documentary collections of maritime and industrial heritage of great value, which constitute a unique collection in its field that allows to know the development of military and civil shipbuilding in Spain from the 18th century to the present day. Taking as a starting point the royal arsenal of the eighteenth century, the exhibition discourse focuses on the dissemination of the history and memory of an activity that currently links with the modern shipyards of Astano, Bazán and Navantia. The museum is part of the network of museums in Galicia since 2017.

In 2018, the room that collects the history of Naval Construction in the Ferrolterra region was inaugurated during the 20th century, from the Spanish Naval Construction Society to the current Navantia, with an important number of pieces and models of ships that were a milestone in the history of the shipyards and in the history of Spain. More than a hundred years condensed into a hundred historical pieces, such as the battleship Spain and some of them curious, as a switchboard from the beginning of the 20th century.

The first floor hosts the permanent exhibition “Lighthouses: 2000 years guiding navigators”, an interesting exhibition on the lighthouses and maritime signs that have been present throughout the history of navigation and with such important pieces as the lighthouse Candieira or Estaca de Bares. This permanent exhibition is open all year round thanks to the collaboration of Ports of the State, specifically the APFSC (Port Authority of Ferrol San Cibrao)

It also has the Carlos III Exhibition Hall, dedicated to temporary exhibitions of everything that has something to contribute to the purposes of the Foundation: painting, photography, book presentations, conferences, musical auditions, etc.