Mission and Scope

Mission: To capture and preserve the wonder and influence of maritime history and the marine industry with focus on the development of Houston, the Texas Gulf Coast, and the State of Texas.

Vision: To be Houston’s showplace of maritime heritage and commerce through education programs, interactive exhibits and related events.

Maritime Heritage

The Houston Maritime Museum features ten galleries of model of ships, themed on Modern Warships, the Modern Merchant Marine, Sailing Ships and Steam Power, Ships in Bottles, Great Lakes Vessels, Convict Models, Ancient Chinese and Middle East, History of Navigation, Voyages of Discovery, Ocean Liners, Port of Houston, Sailing Warships, and the Offshore Energy Industry.

These galleries cover maritime history from the middle ages through modern navies and commercial fleets, and provide visitors with a close up look at a variety of vessels, including battleships, destroyers, submarines, aircraft carriers, clipper ships, side-and-stern-wheel paddleboats, sailing warships, ships of the age of exploration, modern merchant ships, freighters, tankers, and semisubmersible oil rigs.

In addition, the museum is home to a world class collection of historical navigation tools, including astrolabes, quadrants, sextants, and maritime compasses.

Younger visitors will enjoy the Skipper’s Corner where they can steer the captain’s wheel, practice Morse code with the signal light, and shift the engine telegraph into full steam ahead.

Port of Houston Exhibit

One of the highlights of the Museum is the Port of Houston exhibit. As the second largest US port in terms of gross tonnage, the Port of Houston is the greatest contributor to Houston’s economy. Through photos and artifacts, this exhibit introduces visitors to the history of the Port and provides an overview of the maritime career opportunities available today.

Education and Outreach Programs

The Museum offers a free monthly lecture and has an active speaker’s bureau that can provide presentations on a variety of maritime topics both on- and off-site. The staff is happy to work with educators to plan science, math, social studies, and geography lessons for school groups. We also offer model building workshops in which Boy and Cub Scouts can earn merit badges.

Ship Models and Repairs

Lorena Alvarez, the museum’s Master Modeler, provides model restorations services and builds ship models on commission.

Gulf Coast Ship Modelers Society

The GCSMS meets on the second Saturday of every odd-numbered month at the museum to share tips and tricks on ship modeling.

Maritime Library

This non-lending library specializes in maritime books and magazines and is available to patrons wishing to do research.

Gift Shop

The gift shop features nautically-themed gifts for children and adults that fit all budgets.