The Croatian Maritime Museum was founded by Split city council in 1997. Its rich and extensive historic collections were drawn from the Split Maritime Museum, founded in 1925, and the Military Maritime Museum founded in 1962, and several associated maritime heritage collections including marine archaeological finds and artefacts from Brodosplit Museum situated in Split’s shipyard.
The museum researches, acquires, archives and exhibits artefacts and documents relating to the maritime heritage of the Adriatic coast from prehistory to modern times. It is situated in the 17th-century Gripe Fortress – the only fully preserved fortified building in Split.
The fortress courtyard provides an exhibition space for the larger exhibits in the museum collection. These include the vessel ‘Bakar’, the bow of which dominates the courtyard, and ‘Perina’, a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’, or fishing boat, and one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast. Built in 1857, it represents centuries of local sailing knowledge and tradition and is one of seven important historic vessels on display.
The Croatian Maritime Museum contents include a simple but compelling collection of model ships through the ages, ranging from Venetian galleys to twentieth-century cruise liners. Also lying around are all manner of nautical equipment, lighthouse lanterns and naval uniforms. Most striking exhibit is the room devoted to the ground-breaking torpedoes developed by the Whitehead-Lupis workshop in nineteenth-century Rijeka. To finish off, you can look around an outdoor display of beached boats while serenaded by shrieking peacocks – a colony of which roams free on the east side of the fortress.
The Croatian Maritime Museums history is well-documented and there are several fascinating artefacts, including several historic vessels. More information on www.hpms.hr (in English)