Spain 2024-Day 2-It's A Museum!

Spain 2024-Day 2-It's A Museum!

Actually Itsasmuseum, but you get the idea.

Since the walking tour didn't work out, we headed for the Maritime Museum. These oft-overlooked museums are generally interesting and not crowded. We were surprised by the large crowd gathering at the front of this one, but they were there for the live music being played in the cafe on the first floor. The museum itself we largely had to ourselves.

This museum was unabashedly about the pride of Bilbao and The Bay of Biscay. We've seen hints of this fierce devotion around the city (One artist's shop we walked by had a print that read, "It's Bilbao or it's no where."), and the museum took it to the next level with the history and lore of Bilbao and the sea.

I wonder what the most popular name was back then?

We learned about the power wielded by the Consulate of Bilbao which made all their own rules, pacts, and laws as long as they were allowed to.

They must have been so ticked.

I love that before they lost power, they had their own barge.

The ceremonial barge

We were also impressed by the number of old consulate filing cabinets the museum displayed.

Those are all fancy filing cabinets.

After the consulate, we learned a lot about the importance of Bilbao and the Bay on improving maritime safety.

The museum explained that the point of landing is the most dangerous one for a ship. Being shipwrecked against the rocks, for example, a constant concern. They had an impressive section of the museum devoted to the creations that brought about greater safety for all involved in the industry.

We were surprised and intrigued by the ingenuity of so much of the design.

A rifle to catapult a line out to the ship:

Then once the connection via line was made, a whole towing system could be erected to get sailors safely from the wreckage to shore, including, built in inner tube underpants! (Not the technical name.)

Okay, fine, it's called a Bosun's chair, but inner tube underpants made you want to read more, didn't it.

It's difficult to not be distracted by the beautiful stained glass window, but those are the underpants of safety hanging there.

When we read some of the shipwreck stories, we could understand the need for these innovations.

The nightmares that survivor must have had...

Far and away, our favorite exhibit of the entire museum was all about Selma Huxley, a Canadian historian, explorer, archeologist. She was amazing.The display about her gave full insight into the barriers she had to scale to, but also the connections and luck that helped her be successful.

Quite the family background.
Since the exhibit did not discuss it, I researched how her husband died. He was 35 and passed away 3 weeks after a cancer diagnosis. The trauma on the family must have been devastating.
Having taken a family of 5 with just backpacks, I can only imagine the logistics of this process; with no internet to smooth the way.
To search for months, with very little money to keep you going, not knowing if you would find anything for your research...what relief and joy she must have felt.
You can hear the frustration here.

Her amazing discoveries continued:

I would trust her with the key, too.

It's good to have friends who cheer for your success.

As must now be obvious, we found much to love about this museum. You can view a full album of all our pictures from there if you would like.

I did chuckle at the bathroom that's apparently only for graduates? Or sailors?

Once again, the maritimes did not disappoint.