Something has always captured my mind throughout my journeys at sea. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of sailors have ventured in the vastness of the Big Blue before me. These adventurers of the past have navigated in much more precarious conditions than I do today and have achieved remarkable feats doing so. When we compare contemporary navigation to that of several centuries ago, one can only admire the courage of the men and women who set sail without the comfort of satellite weather predictions, GPS or depth sounder devices. I cannot see myself relying only on a compass, navigational charts, plotting equipment, sextant, a chronograph and other traditional navigation tools to find my way out there. Though I always take them with me to continue upholding my knowledge on how to use these tools or in case of system failure of my modern navigation devices. That’s why when I’m not at sea, I like to visit museums dedicated to navigation as it was in the past.
Interesting, Interactive, and Free – Hastings’ Great Shipwreck Museum
Located in the small historic Old town of Hastings, after the Blue Reef Aquarium at the end of the promenade that runs along each side of the Rock-a-Nore road along the east coast of Sussex, the town’s shipwreck museum contains historical treasures. Here, a multitude of objects and artifacts that once belonged to the crews of many ships wrecked in the English Channels are displayed. The museum masterpieces are the objects and parts of the ships of the Amsterdam, a Dutch East Indiaman of 1749, of the Anne of 1690 and from the Charles II warship. The museum tells the international story of navigation in this stretch of sea between France and England implicating, in particular, the French, English, Dutch, Danish and German history. Access to the museum is free, but you can leave a donation if you wish. The museum is part of a maritime park along the coastline where there is plenty of activities and attraction such as a minigolf course, a great aquarium with “sea monsters,” a fun fair and arcade, several museums and lots of spots to eat and drink. Hastings’ shipwreck museum is part of a whole entertainment complex that is not to be missed if you have the chance to visit the area for a great day in East Sussex.
The staff of the museum is very welcoming and know fascinating details about the items and artifacts exposed. They are great with kids as well, and they know how to stir up their curiosity. The gift shop is full of great souvenirs and gadgets that kids are raving about. Although a little pricey, given that the museum is totally free, it is definitely a museum that I would recommend to all sea lovers who happen to spend some time in this side of the beautiful region of Sussex.