The Ferrol Naval Museum was inaugurated on March 5, 1986. Located inside the Naval base of Ferrol, in the former Barracks of Inmates known as San Campio and projected in 1765, it shows the link between the Navy and the city since in 1726 Patiño chose the Ferrol estuary and the town of Graña for Build the Navy arsenal on the north coast.
In 1749 the construction works of the Esteiro shipyard began and in 1750 those of the Ferrol arsenal. Meanwhile, that of La Graña continued to function as such until the completion of the works that, after several projects and modifications, were finally completed in 1770.
The Naval Museum of Ferrol was inaugurated on March 5, 1986 with the intention of showing the connection of the Navy with the city of Coruña since in 1726 José Patiño Rosales, admiral, Secretary of State and General Mayor of the Navy during the reign of Felipe V, chose the Ferrol estuary and the village of La Graña to build the Navy arsenal on the north coast.
The Museum is located inside the Ferrol Naval Base, in the historic building of the Ferrol Arsenal known as “Presidio San Campio”. The building responds to the idea of Felipe V to improve the arsenals and give greater importance to naval policy. In 1747 the project of its construction by Lieutenant General Cosme Álvarez was developed. Approved in 1750, it is a baroque-neoclassical building, whose works were completed in 1770.
The Shipbuilding Museum
The Shipbuilding Museum was created by the Foundation for the Promotion of Knowledge of Shipbuilding and Maritime Activities (Exponav), with the purpose of serving as a meeting place between society, industry and the scientific community to disseminate the development of ship construction techniques and the materials used, presenting the various aspects related to this matter: from the evolution of technologies and tools to the most important moment of a ship, launching and navigability, enabling understanding of this technology and the knowledge of our naval past. The museum has museum and documentary collections of maritime and industrial heritage of great value, since they 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, emphasizing Ferrol’s role in this field.
The exhibition offers an informative view on the most relevant historical milestones related to this activity in Spain. 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 consists of two floors dedicated to the history of shipbuilding. The Ground Floor is a tour of the various construction techniques and the most essential services of a ship. Stresses the wreck of the Magdalena Frigate, sunk in the Viveiro estuary in the year 1810 and recovered by the Spanish Navy in the 70s and 80s of the last century.
On the upper floor is the temporary exhibition hall and a series of thematic rooms such as the one dedicated to the Astano shipyard, called Milagro en la Ría. Other rooms are those dedicated to the Navy, its ships and its schools, shipping companies, ports, etc. The headquarters of the museum is the Herrerías building. It is part of the historical complex of the Arsenal of Ferrol, designed by Julián Sánchez Bort in 1765 at the time for the construction of the iron pieces of both the structure and the equipment and decoration of the ships. The building is fully identified with the scope and theme of the museum, becoming a fundamental element of the exhibition discourse and the ideal setting for the exhibition of the collection.
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.
The Museum has among its funds with more than 2,650 pieces related to the activity of the Navy, its close relationship with Ferrol and the naval and maritime history of Spain. The outer part has an extensive collection of anchors, considered one of the best in the world.
Among the models preserved in its rooms stands out the frigate Santa María Magdalena, 34 guns, launched in 1773 in Ferrol. A strong storm caused its collapse in the Viveiro estuary, next to the brig Palomo. More than 500 men lost their lives in the wreck. Some parts of the hull, as well as numerous objects, nautical instruments and weapons rescued from its wreck, are exhibited today in the rooms of the museum. Other models of great interest are the Galatea school ship and the San Carlos Real ship in Spain. In addition, it has a wide collection of fishing and cabotage models.
In the Weapons room, all the elements that made up the Directorate of Fire of a second third ship of the 20th century, as well as torpedoes and other artillery pieces are exposed. Nautical instruments used by the navigator in their voyages are also exhibited, from the scandal and the sliding slide to the GPS. Among the cartography, the Maritime Atlas of Spain of Tofiño and the collection of copper plates of the Hydrographic Institute of the 18th and 19th centuries deserve special attention.
Room 2 stands out, with a tour of Navy ships that sailed the seas between the 15th and 18th centuries. With the backdrop of “El Galeón de Manila” (commercial route between the Philippines, Mexico and Spain), different representative pieces of the period are exhibited in this room, with special mention to the ship’s niche “Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza” (on a real scale). They complement the room the naos of the discovery of America, the “San Juan Nepomuceno”, part of the wreck of the galleon “San Gerónimo” and an artillery piece of the frigate “Our Lady of the Mercedes”, as well as a sample of thematic pictures.
Among the models preserved in its rooms stands out that of the frigate Santa Maria Magdalena, of 34 guns, launched in 1773 in Ferrol. A strong storm caused its sinking in the Vivero estuary, next to the brig Palomo. More than 500 men lost their lives in the wreck. Some parts of the hull and numerous objects, nautical instruments and weapons rescued from its wreck are exhibited today in the rooms of the museum.
Other models of great interest are that of the Galatea school ship and that of the San Carlos Real ship in Spain, in addition to having a wide collection of fishing and cabotage models.
The museum conserves more than one hundred artillery pieces.
In the Shot room all the elements that made up the Direction of Shot of a second third ship of the 20th century are exposed.
Nautical instruments used by the navigator are also exhibited in their journeys from the scandal and the sliding slide to the GPS. Among the cartography, the Atlas de Tofiño and the collection of copper plates of the Hydrographic Institute of the 18th and 19th centuries deserve special attention.
One of the rooms is dedicated to the School of Electronics and Transmissions of the Navy (ETEA), with the historical pieces of this center located in the naval base of Rio, in the nearby Vigo estuary.
The Ferrol Zone Library (Navy Library) is located in the same facilities as the Museum. Its schedule is: Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.