Magic of LA Maritime Museum
May 30, 2019
If you’re at The Vue apartments (or anywhere in San Pedro) and looking for a fun and engaging way to learn more about the history of the marvelous Los Angeles Harbor, then you should do yourself a favor and check out the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, housed in what was once the Public Works Administration building:
“Saved from demolition by historically-minded citizens, the building has been beautifully restored, and now houses the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Exhibits highlight the history of Los Angeles and include ship and boat models, the fishing and canning industry, the US Navy, figureheads, and an amateur radio station.”
Just head on over to Berth 84 at the foot of 6th Street, and you can experience the wonders of the museum yourself. Before you do, though, be sure to read ahead, because we’re going to lay out all the details you’ll need to know in advance to have a great time.
What You’ll Find at the Maritime Museum
If you were thinking the Maritime Museum was home to a “boatload” of exhibits, then you thought correctly! The exhibits are part of the Maritime Museum’s main appeal, and they cover a wide range of specific topics that help shed light on the harbor’s past and present. Currently, there are six exhibits on display that you’ll find interesting:
- Taminaru — This exhibit takes a look back at the “Terminal Islanders,” Japanese immigrants who once called Terminal Island in the Port of Los Angeles home. Some 3,000 Japanese-Americans lived and fished on the island, but were relocated to internment camps after the United States entered WWII. The Taminaru exhibit helps preserve and recount some of their lost history.
- What’s Going On in the Harbor Today? — Like the name suggests, this exhibit answers the title question with a variety of games and activities designed for children. They’ll learn about how that harbor machinery works, how ships and cargo move about, and role play in a variety of harbor-specific professions. The exhibit also “features a photo mosaic by photographer Martin Cox, who spent a day on the Museum’s roof documenting the harbor traffic.”
- Caught, Canned, and Eaten — If it came from the sea and people ate it, chances are it was once canned at one of San Pedro’s fisheries. Though these fisheries are largely defunct today, their legacy remains, and this exhibit takes a look back at the fishermen and canners who caught and packaged tuna, sardines, mackerel, and squid, right here in sunny San Pedro.
- 20,000 Jobs Under the Sea — Under the sea can be a dangerous place, but also a fascinating one where peerless professionals ply many a trade. This exhibit takes a look at some of the thousands of jobs that mankind performs beneath the waves, like underwater construction, inspection, salvage, and repair.
- Neptune’s Favorites — Sailors, believe it or not, are not one-dimensional humans focused solely on their careers at sea. Many have a creative spark, spurring them to craft great works of artistic prowess. Some of these works are collected in this exhibit, and placed on display for you to view in stunning detail.
- USS Los Angeles — According to this exhibit, “the USS Los Angeles was a United States Navy heavy cruiser, commissioned in 1945 and financed by the sale of war bonds purchased by the people of Los Angeles.” The exhibit tells the story of the USS Los Angeles and her crew, through a variety of artifacts, photographs, and ship relics.
And these are just the exhibits you can see in person. If you’re a true history enthusiast, it might also be worth your while to check out the various “online exhibits” the museum has as well. These include an abundance of old photographs, postcards, and periodicals that help paint an even more detailed picture of the Los Angeles Harbor and its past.
Though you’ll find the emphasis on the past is heavy at the Maritime Museum, it’s not the only thing there for you to enjoy. Take, for instance, the Angel’s Gate Tugboat. This vessel, which was granted to the museum in the early 90s after a long career towing about the Port of Los Angeles, now provides narrated tours of the harbor for museum members. Though its military machine guns and other offensive hardware have been removed, the boat is still in great condition, and appears much as it did when it was first constructed back in 1944.
For those that want to get even deeper into the depths of LA history, the Maritime Museum’s library will be a definite point of interest:
“The Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library is a special collection of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Books and archival materials donated to the Library were once owned by mariners, port pilots, sailors, ship modelers, authors and avid collectors of history and technology of the maritime industries.”
And while you’re sifting through those old tomes and learning more about Los Angeles’ past, consider what you can do to support the Maritime Museum and its efforts. The museum graciously accepts cash donations to help fund its operation and the expansion of its collection. By donating, you can also purchase yourself a membership as a “Friend of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum,” which grants further benefits like:
- Free admission
- Invitations to exhibits and special events
- An excursion on the ANGELS GATE tug
- Discounts at the Sea Chest Museum Shop
- Library borrowing privileges
- Free subscription to the Museum newsletter, “Channel Crossings”
- Reciprocal admission to over 80 maritime museums through the Council of American Maritime Museums
Or maybe you’d even like to volunteer your time at the museum? Depending on the time of year, they could always use a few more hands on deck to serve as tour guides, gift store clerks, greeters, and engineers.
More About The Vue Apartments
When it comes to putting you close to cool San Pedro locations like the Maritime Museum, few apartments can do it quite like The Vue. This awesome high rise community is conveniently located just moments from the very best neighborhood attractions, giving you ample access not only to cool spots like the museum, but the stores, restaurants, parks, and stunning San Pedro landmarks as well. Ready to see what life by the water is all about? Come check out The Vue; you won’t be disappointed.