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Our mission is to provide an enriching museum experience based on maritime history ranging from ancient mariners to the modern marine era, and to enhance the understanding of our rich international and local seafaring heritage with a focus on educational programs through world-class maritime art, unique ship models, dynamic exhibits, artifacts, and a nautical research library.
The Ventura County Maritime Museum at Channel Islands Harbor was first opened on February 13, 1991 to a large crowd of excited guests. The prospect of a maritime museum was inspired by the goal to educate people about maritime history and culture. Early correspondences and current trends show that the museum’s success is due largely to the funds and artifacts provided by the Nelson Maritime Arts Foundation and the hard work of their dedicated volunteers.
In June 2012, the museum moved from its original location at Fisherman’s Wharf to the site of the old Port Royal restaurant, where it still attracts crowds of visitors each year and works with a team of around 100 volunteers to provide a unique and educational experience for all guests. The museum collection comes in large part from Harry and Joyce Nelson, avid maritime history enthusiasts who also owned Almar Ltd. Marinas and the Anacapa Isle Marina who collected many paintings and ship models from 1650 to the present. The Maritime Museum boasts an unsurpassed art and model collection, contemporary exhibits, monthly speaker series, exhibit openings, high-quality education program and research library that allows guests to expand their knowledge of maritime history, culture, and conservation.