It would be difficult to find a museum location that is a better fit than that of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. It is located in what originally was the Ferry Building that for 22 years moved people to Terminal Island from San Pedro. Then was replaced by the Vincent Thomas Bridge in 1963
Now it is home to a maritime museum which tells the story of how a harbor was created from mudflats to make San Pedro one of the largest and busiest shipping ports in the United States.
With its long naval tradition there is, naturally enough, one whole room devoted to carefully accurate models of the warships that once had their home berths in San Pedro. And a special exhibit of the USS Los Angeles, a World War ll heavy cruiser which was built in San Pedro. During our recent visit this room, devoted to the U.S. Navy, is currently being redesigned with added material. At one time San Pedro was home to the Pacific Fleet.
Movie buffs will enjoy a model of the S S Poseidon which was used in the making of the film "The Poseidon Adventure". The model is 22 feet long, battery powered, and cost $30,000 to build. After the movie was completed it was donated to the museum by 20th Century Fox. Now it is located adjacent to a special area for children to have fun and learn at the same time.
There are also photos and models from other famous Hollywood films that were filmed around San Pedro. Carefully crafted models of every kind of ancient and modern ship are on display throughout the museum.
San Pedro was once the center of a large fishing industry and canneries were there to process the catch of the fishermen. Large photographs show the men and women cannery workers of an earlier era. We studied these photos for some time thinking of how each person in them represented a unique story now lost forever.
There is a large exhibition displaying how the Los Angeles Harbor was created and also a study of the early days of commercial diving and the equipment used at that time. Moored adjacent to the museum is the Tug Angels Gate, built in 1944, that still sails the harbor on tours.
Clustered around the museum there is the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial honoring the deaths of over 6,000 seamen lost during World War 11, and the Memorial for the Fishermen who were lost at sea while plying their trade. Here too a 16 inch gun barrel from the USS New Jersey and mast, anchors and bow peak of the USS Los Angeles.
From the Museum one has views of today's bustling harbor with massive container ships moving past or in the process of being unloaded. We watched as across the channel two huge EverGreen ships were being unloaded of containers holding what?
Towering in the distance there are cruise ships of the Princess and Norwegian lines located in their port of call.
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum is located at Berth 84 at the Foot of Sixth Street in San Pedro and open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information check the web at www.lamaritimemuseum.org. Telephone 310 548-7618. There is free off street parking nearby at the Ports of Call area.
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