Located in the old lighthouse keeper’s home, the Museu del Mar displays objects from the world of fishing and maritime traditions in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Most of them are part of the collection that the Associació Museu del Mar has been creating over the last forty years from donations from the fishermen and neighbours from the seaside district.
The exhibition starts with an audio-visual on maritime Vilanova, and it is divided into different sections, showcasing a journey through the city’s maritime history based on the objects and stories.
This display illustrates the city’s maritime origins, which date back to the time of the Iberians. It also shows the urban development of the seaside district, through maps and old photographs.
THE TRADING ADVENTURE
The maritime trade with Cuba marked the second half of the 19th century in the city. To the point that Vilanova i la Geltrú gained the title of “L’Havana Xica” (the Little Havana).
This exhibit contains a display of the various fishing methods used by the Vilanova fishermen, and the various objects associated with the trade. The fishing platform shows the places where they cast their nets and the species of fish they can catch there.
The city did not have a port until 1954. Once created, it helped considerably to improve the fishermen’s quality of life and maintain their trade. It also drastically altered the Vilanova coastline.
THE YEAR OF MISFORTUNE
In 1886 there was a tragic accident where 22 fishermen died. Following this disaster, a local branch of the Sociedad Española de Salvamento de Náufragos (sea rescue service) was created, and the city was equipped with various items of life-saving equipment.
The seaside district has always been a culturally active area. Joaquim Mir, Alexandre de Cabanyes, among other painters, portrayed the beaches and the people. There have also been poets and writers, like Eugeni d’Ors who lived in the district and created their works there.
The Far de Sant Cristòfol (St. Christopher’s lighthouse), known popularly as “la Farola” (“the street lamp”), was built in 1905. Although the first one dates back to 1866. Before, the lighthouse keeper used to live in the building that today houses this Museum of the Sea.
ONE OBJECT, ONE STORY
The last section is dedicated to people’s spoken memories. By clicking on each of the images of the objects exhibited, you can watch two-minute videos of neighbours from the district explaining how these objects were used and what they were used for.