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Top 10 Maritime Museums (US)

  1. Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT
  2. Nantucket Whaling Museum, MA
  3. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michael's, MD
  4. Museum of Yachting, Newport, RI
  5. Herreshoff Museum, Bristol RI
  6. New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA
  7. San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Franciso, CA
  8. Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME
  9. Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven, MI
  10. Maritime Museum of San Diego, Ca

It would be hard to beat The National Maritime Museum in Greenwhich, England "Home of the Prime Meridian of the World", but we're not talking worldwide here. In the US, it's pretty hard to beat Mystic Seaport. Aside from the amazing collection of ships, nautical items, and a village replete with experts in their crafts, there is the planetarium, special exhibits, and the boatbuilding shed. If you stay overnight in the museum, it's like being there with the spirits of the past sailors, shipwrights, and merchants. There is nothing else quite like it.

The Nantucket Whaling Museum and ancillary historical exhibits is pretty remarkable. The scrimshaw collection is awe inspiring and is considered the greatest collection in the world.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a representative collection of classic Chesapeake Bay craft and a srewpile lighthouse, but it's most impressive collection is that related to waterfowl and the wicked boats and guns developed to shoot them.

The Museum of Yachting has all manner of watercraft on display both inside and out, including a vast array of classic wooden boats. Very pretty.

The Herreshoff Museum, aside from housing all the original plans and designs, has an amazing climate controlled half hull and model room. It also houses several restored and project Herreshoff vessels and maintains a fleet for racing.

In a related story, soon there will be one more contender. The National Sailing Hall of Fame and Museum is being established in Annapolis MD, the "Sailing Capitol of the World." It has a rather ambitious plan and was the brain child of yachting's best known Gary Jobson. Read about it here.

Please Note: Normally the number 1 selection each month receives a free link to their website for that month. This month, the resources are so valuable and generally non-commercial that we decided to provide permanent links to each.

Being named to the list does qualify those honored to sponsor links. Please contact us for details.

The list is not revealed prior to posting so the selections are made in relative absence of bias according to reasonably well defined criteria. You are invited to submit names for consideration.

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