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Looking for something fun and different to do in Oxnard, CA? Consider visiting the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. Prior to its name, it began as the Ventura County Maritime Museum back in 1990 at a different site: Fisherman’s Wharf. In 2012 it was relocated across the Channel and received its new name, “Channel Islands Maritime Museum.”

Harry Nelson was an attorney in the area, but developed an interest in maritime art after visiting Europe with his wife in the 1960’s. He purchased two small paintings on that trip and over the years he continued to collect and ended up with one of the finest privately owned collections in the world of maritime themed art.

When you visit the Channel Islands Maritime Museum you’ll find many pieces of his collection including maritime art and historic ship models. The commercial development of the Museum is all thanks to Bud Smith of Ventura County.  Click here for more information.

It took the hard work of Nelson and Smith, friends and volunteers to transform the empty building into the wonderful Museum it is today. In February of 1991 the Museum launched with a black-tie event for the political and professional ‘elite’ in the area. The Museum is a non-profit corporation.

Among the art collection, visitors can also view the works by 17th century Flemish and Dutch masters and admire ship models that trace over 3,000 years of maritime history. You can see the Egyptian tomols and reed boats all the way through to the modern day car carriers.

Do you love sailing ship models? If so, you’ll really enjoy the exhibit of antique Prisoner of War sailing ship models that is the largest collection in the U.S. French prisoners made these models during the Napoleonic Wars.
More exhibits visitors can view include navigational instrument, whaling exhibits, sailor’s arts and the history of The Port of Hueneme and Channel Island Harbor.

The Museum has guest artist exhibitions featured throughout the year in addition to special topical exhibitions. It’s a great place for locals and visitors to check out.

Among the 150 reviews on Google, the Museum continues to impress. People are fascinated by the intricate detail that went into the ship models on display and love the knowledge of the staff. This is really helpful when visiting a Museum because you will likely have some questions and it’s great when the staff can provide the answers and then even more knowledge about the exhibit.  For more things to do in and around Oxnard, California go here.

One of their current exhibitions is the Shore Lore exhibit. “How prohibition changed Ventura County.” A time when ill-tasting and dangerous alcohol, being locally made and distributed as the real thing, started being rejected by the people. People wanted the real, high quality, authentic Scotch and even other liquors “right off the boat.”

They have a variety of exhibits on display throughout the year so it’s best to check their website and plan your visit accordingly. Don’t forget your camera because you’re going to see some really amazing exhibits and you can revisit those photos in the future.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

3900 Bluefin Cir, Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 984-6260