The Shipbuilding Museum was established by the Foundation for the Promotion of Knowledge of Shipbuilding and Maritime Activities (EXPONAV) to serve as a meeting place between society, industry and the scientific community for disseminating the development of shipbuilding techniques and the materials used, showcasing the various aspects related to this setting: from the evolution of technologies and tools to a vessel's most important moment, launching and seaworthiness trials, allowing the understanding of this technology and the knowledge of our naval past.
The museum houses enormously valuable museographical and documentary collections of our maritime and industrial heritage, as they constitute a unique collection in their setting which enables us to learn about the development of military and civil shipbuilding in Spain from the 18th century to the present day, stressing the role played by Ferrol in this field.
The exhibition provides an informative overview of the principal historical milestones related to this activity in Spain. Taking the 18th-century royal arsenal as a starting point, the exhibition discourse focuses on disseminating the history and memory of an activity which links up today with the modern Astano, Bazán and Navantia shipyards.
The museum has two floors devoted to the history of shipbuilding. The ground floor offers a tour of the various constriction techniques and the most essential services of a vessel. Worthy of note is the wreck of the frigate, Magdalena, sunk in the ria of Viveiro in 1810 and recovered by the Spanish Navy in the 1970s and 1980s. On the upper floor we find the temporary exhibitions room, and a series of thematic rooms, such as that devoted to the Astano shipyard, called "Miracle on the Ria". Other rooms are devoted to the Navy, its ships and schools, shipping lines, ports, etc.
The museum is housed in the Herrerías building, which forms part of the historic Ferrol Arsenal ensemble, designed by Julián Sánchez Bort in 1765 for the construction of the iron pieces of both the structure and the rigging and decoration of vessels. The building dovetails perfectly with the museum's scope and theme, forming an essential element of the exhibition discourse and provides the ideal setting for exhibiting the collection.