Art Of Navigation

New Art Of Navigation Exhibit Now Open At Maritime Museum Of San Diego

Included with Maritime Museum of San Diego General Admission

Treasured Tools. Refined Resources. Turning Intellect, Math, Nature & Science into Beauty.
S.T.E.A.M. of the Early Days

SAN DIEGO, CA — The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s mission is to serve as the community memory of our seafaring experiences by collecting, preserving, and presenting our rich maritime heritage and historic connections with the Pacific world. The Museum is pleased to announce the opening of the new Art of Navigation exhibit this summer in the Gould Eddy Gallery found aboard the 1898 Victorian – era steam ferryboat Berkeley. Entry to the new exhibit is included with general admission. Art of Navigation draws upon some of the finest and most beautiful examples of period instruments, charts, and voyage accounts, illuminated by the work of documentary maritime artist Gordon Miller. The showcase is embellished by exquisite models of the storied ships which conducted the enterprise from the Museum’s own collections, and even majestic full-scale operational versions such as the galleon San Salvador, man-of-war H.M.S. Surprise, schooner Californian, and the Maritime Museum of San Diego flagship Star of India, veteran of twenty-one navigations around the earth.

According to Raymond Ashley, Ph.D., K.C.I., President/CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego “As a powerful and mysterious art, navigation and the territorial claims of trade and empire it conveyed drew much of its authority and mastery from the same aesthetic as did all art. In consequence, the instruments, reference texts, and nautical charts which were its tools and products were therefore also objects of exquisite beauty.” Art of Navigation highlights artifacts used when the great voyages of European exploration began in the mid-sixteenth century at the dawn of the Scientific Revolution, oceanic navigation was one of the rare disciplines (along with military and mining engineering), in which mathematics and instruments found tangible and useful application. Even among many of the foremost scientists of that time, mathematics and instruments were thought to be impediments or distortions of the pure reliance on human observation that the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle had argued as the basis for scientific investigation.

In the days before photography, exquisitely detailed landscapes and elevations of islands, coastlines, and harbor entrances not only provided vital navigational information, but they also rivalled the finest examples of contemporary landscape art. Among the first popular genres of non-fiction made available by the invention of the printing press to mass audiences, voyage accounts not only provided stirring narratives, but graphic renderings of strange places, animals, and peoples that held readers enthralled. Dr. Ashley adds, “The ships themselves were not only practical conveyances of cargo, people, information, and military might, but also of national prestige. Ships were designed to be just as beautiful as they were useful, since they were at the same time projections of power, identity, authority, and possession. In an age when baroque embellishment was a statement of wealth and power, ships were among the most baroquely embellished objects created.”

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The Maritime Museum of San Diego is open daily at Star of India wharf located at 1492 N. Harbor Drive between Grape and Ash Street. Visitors can explore the floating museum of ships along the north embarcadero and multiple below-deck exhibits with one general admission ticket. General admission self-guided tour prices for adults are $24.00, seniors, military, and students 13-17 are $18.00 and youth 3-12 $12.00. Children under two are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or at the Museum Ticket Booth. $10.00 daily 45-minute narrated Pilot boat Bay tours may also be added to admission, based on availability at 11:00 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. and (3:45 p.m. weekends only) tour times.

About the Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego experience includes admission to a world-class collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats, and submarines, each offering entertaining and educational exhibits. The 501c3 non-profit Museum enjoys an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels including the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India. Maritime Museum of San Diego is ranked as one of the nation’s top attractions offering self-guided tours, docent guided-group tours, tall ship charters, year round public events, educational programs, and a distinctive venue for corporate/private events. The Museum is open daily along Star of India Wharf at 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-3309.