This little museum is housed in a fortified building in the port of Donosti. This baroque building from the end of the 18th century was built as the Consulate for the port and was one of the few to survive the destruction of the city by Wellington's troops in 1813.
If we could travel back in time to 1782, we would find a newly built fortified house, home of a person of authority and multiple important functions.
The harbour master who lived here was in charge of overseeing all port activities: the comings and goings of vessels, the charging of mooring fees, loading and unloading, keeping the seabed and quays clean, repair work after storms. He also had to supply crews with bread and wine when the city gates were shut, and maintain order and safety in the port, especially at night; the building was even provided with a prison cell.
It was situated in the heart of the "binge" neighbourhood, so called because the port was outside the city walls, and when the city gates were locked at night, this area was the centre of drinking and revelry.
The Consulate tried at all times to facilitate the growth and development of Donosti's maritime economy by promoting trade and navigation. Its most significant contribution was, without doubt, the unconditional support it gave to the creation and development of the Royal Guipuzcoa Company of Caracas.
After a time, it also came to house a nautical school, and for many years also gave help to vessels and crews who found themselves in difficulties at sea. At the end of the 80s, it was suggested that it could be turned into a maritime museum. Despite the problems arising from the lack of exhibits and space, various historians and technical experts got to work on the project. The new museum aimed to contribute, together with other institutions, to the recovery, conservation, study and promotion of Basque maritime heritage.
The first two floors of the building are dedicated to exhibitions concerning maritime history and the relationship of the city with the sea, while a laboratory and a library occupy the third floor.