The Maritime Museum was established in 1949 and is located in the Fortress of Saint Ivan. The museum is one of the largest and most significant maritime museums in the east Adriatic, containing more than 7 thousand items ranging from antique times to the present. The museum tells the story of famous Dubrovnik sea captains and sailors and their past and tradition. The museum is divided into two levels, which contain the following: the first floor displays the development of Dubrovnik ship building and faring from their onset to the birth of the Republic of Ragusa; the second floor displays Dubrovnik’s maritime life between the 19th century and the year 1991.
The museum contains many shipwrecks which are displayed in Dubrovnik’s aquatorium. One of the most notable objects in the museum is a wooden ship dated to the 1st century AD. The ship was discovered near the Glavat Cope in Mljet. The ship’s cargo conained ceramic dishes, amphoras, silwerware used on the ship, a large ammount of glass etc.
The museum exhibits various documents, nautical devices, portraits of Dubrovnik’s seafarers, physical moels of sailboats and steamboats, many paintings of sailboats and steamships, works of notable painters of the 19th and 20th century, cannons used on ships, ship pharmaceutical tools, atlases and many more things. The oldest objects connected to maritime life in the museum are: a sheet with a cargo list from the Santo Jezepo sailboat dating back to 1543, a letter from French King Henry II which talks of the protection of Dubrovnik’s sailors and merchants, as well as the covers of a ship book of ship costs from the 1580, which was used on a Dubrovnik ship, the Santo Spirito, whose captain was Toma Sagroević.
What sticks out as particularly valuable and unique is the gold pocket watch which once belonged to American president Abraham Lincoln. The watch was gifted to captain Jozo Šunj for the bravery he displayed while saving the crew of the American ship, the Homer, in 1861. It is a gold pocket watch with a chain and a matching box, made in 1860 in the factory of the famous Danish watch manufacturer Jules Jurgensen from Copenhagen. On the inner lid of the clock is the dedication of the then President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, to Captain Jozo Šunj.
In 1861, he rescued the crew of the American ship, the Homer, in the Atlantic, which, under the command of Captain Alfred Yates, sailed with a cargo of palm oil and ivory from Africa to New York. The ship found itself in a storm and was sinking. Captain Šunj and his crew managed to save 22 American sailors from certain death. For exceptional courage and sacrifice, US President Abraham Lincoln presented him with a gold watch with dedication and a gold chain. The clock is exhibited in the permanent exhibition of the Museum on the second floor of the fortress of St. Ivan.
Ticket price for the Maritime Museum
Regular ticket price: 40 kn
Reduced ticket price: 25 kn - for underage children
Opening hours of the Maritime Museum
The working hours of the museum in the winter are from 09:00am to 4:00pm,
The museum is closed on Mondays.
Summer working hours are from 9:00am to 6:00pm
Author of the text:
Ana Lazarević - our correspondent for Dubrovnik
Contact: [email protected]