A shipyard turned into a museum

Itsasmuseum Bilbao is a “Shipyard turned into a Museum” that gives onto the coast and the sea. This sums up the essence of the main changes and additions to the museum entrance, the starting point of the Itsasmuseum experience.

Visitors are greeted by a concept map comprising several backlit images that show the different thematic areas that the museum deals with: sea, people, trade, industry, shipyard, carpentry and current affairs. It does this with EZ eman hautatzeko, an exciting, evocative poem by Kirmen Uribe that introduces the themes of Itsasmuseum.

It is followed by the Biscay maritime territory module, a selection of pieces, maps and texts related to the Bay of Biscay, the coast and the close relationship of the people of the region with the sea. In addition, the exhibition has many new legacy exhibits – such as a shell pendant from the Santimamiñe archaeological site and a ceramic amphora from the estuary of the Lekeitio site. There is also an interesting collection of maps of Bilbao and original nautical charts by cartographers such as Waghenaer, Willem Janszoon Blaeu and Robert Dudley, generously loaned by Jose Ramon Maestro Martin and Itziar Ramirez Uribarri.

Finally, the Ria de Bilbao. Heading to the sea shows visitors Bilbao’s historical ties with the sea and its importance as a port.

Historical documents, engravings, and early illustrations depict Bilbao and its Ria. Two Roman coins found in the town show how Romans and their subjugates lived in the Ria of Bilbao and how port activity in Bilbao, a port before a Villa, dates back to antiquity.

Finally, Juan de Arratia’s room explores the distant past of the original Villa. It commemorates a cabin boy from Bilbao who, 500 years ago, circumnavigated the globe for the first time with Juan Sebastian Elkano.

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Featured objects

A shipyard turned into a museum

Estuary of Bilbao, heading to the sea

Biscay maritime territory

Juan de Arratia Room

Other permanent exhibitions

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