Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

The Collection of Navigational Instruments and Ship Equipment

Head: Msc. Nikša Mendeš, senior curator

The material gathered in this collection is very diverse, and consists of precision navigational instruments and ship equipment.
The Collection of Navigational Instruments and Ship Equipment contains 780 items which have been inventoried, digitalised and entered in the M++ computer database.
From the navigational instruments which were used mainly on sailing ships and steamships, the purposes of which were the tracking the positions and directions of vessels, the highlights are sextants and octants, compasses, dromoscopes, chronometers, radio room clocks, wind-roses, nautical rulers and protractors, globes, navigation maps and azimuth devices. Among the navigational instruments particularly important are the sextants and octants, twenty-eight of them, of which the oldest examples date back to the second half of the 18th century.
The equipment of a ship is an integral part of any ship, whether it was specifically built-in or a part of the deck equipment. Particularly interesting are the ship’s bell, ropes, ship refrigerators, ship ovens, speedometers, echo sounders, lanterns, pulleys, wheels, gun-carriages, torches, belts, anchors, figureheads, chests and ship cannons.
The instruments and equipment are predominately made from wood, as well as from metal (iron, brass, silver, steel etc.), rope, textiles and so on.
A small part of the material is on show to visitors in the exhibition area of the museum. The greater part is located in the department’s storeroom. Conservation-restoration procedures are being carried out on the most vulnerable items (the figureheads), whilst the regular maintenance of the instruments and other equipment is carried out in the museum’s workshop.
The Collection of Navigational Instruments and Ship Equipment is valuable because of its contents which are a part of the maritime and economic history of this region. This particularly relates to the navigational instruments which belonged to mariners of the last sailing ships and steamships, and also the constituent parts of equipment from individual ships, the home ports of which were those of Kvarner and the Croatian Littoral.