On the 20th of June 2022, Itsasmuseum Bilbao celebrated the 154th anniversary of the Dry Docks.
The Dry Docks are a living testimony of the activities of the shipyard and a reflection of the way of life of society at the time. They were inaugurated on the 20th of June, 1868 and bought up by the Euskalduna Ship Construction and Repair Company (Compañía Euskalduna de Construcción y Reparación de Buques) in 1900.
The first repair and construction work carried out by Astilleros Euskalduna was here in these docks, which, over their 80-year history, have seen more than 300 large ships built within their walls.
The Dry Docks, made up of Docks 1, built in 1868, and 2, were acquired by Astilleros Euskalduna from the Bilbao Dry Docks Company, and enlarged and remodelled. In 2002, work was undertaken to dry out and recover these docks, respecting their original form as far as possible, as an outstanding piece in the Bilbao Maritime Museum’s collection thanks to their heritage and historical value.
2022 will see the 154-year anniversary since the docks’ construction, and Itsasmuseum wants to celebrate this by protecting and publicising the historical and industrial value of an infrastructure whose contribution has been decisive in the economic and social life of both Bilbao and Biscay.
Currently, a relevant part of the Itsasmuseum collection is housed here, including several boats which are exhibited because of their history, because of the way of life of those who sailed in them or because they are closely linked to the maritime activity of the estuary and of the Bay of Biscay, occupying a prominent place in our maritime and industrial heritage.
In many cases, these boats were built using processes and techniques which have disappeared today, such as riverbank boat-building, a trade that was common along the whole coast of Biscay for centuries, using cutting-edge techniques of the time, but which have been replaced today by more profitable practices.
Among the vessels, the Portu, the Auntz Mendi and the Nuevo Anchústegui stand out from the rest.