Museum News

Museum News: Fall, 2014

Preview of New Children’s Exhibit set for Saturday, September 27th at 1:00 pm


Kids of all ages are cordially invited to try out the Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s new children’s exhibit: “What’s Going on in the Harbor Today?” during an open house on Saturday, September 27 from 1:00pm to 4:30pm.  Enjoy exploring the new, permanent exhibit, designed with the help of  teachers, parents, and children.   Discover the modern harbor, learn to load cargo, test your knowledge of ships, play dress up, and get ready for an afternoon of fun!  Admission is free.

The exhibit was made possible by the generosity of the following:  Friends of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Port of Los Angeles Community Benefit Grants, City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, The Lee (Sher) and Joseph M. Mardesich, III Children’s Education Fund (in memoriam), Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, Southern California ILWU Pensioners, Local 13, San Pedro Retired Elks, The Corner Store, San Pedro

Shipwreck Documentary to be shown Saturday, October 4th

Cover image courtesy Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Cover image courtesy Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Of the thousands of voyages transporting Mormon migrants across the Atlantic and Pacific between 1840 and 1932, only one – the JULIA ANN – wrecked and resulted in loss of life. Now, after several years of research, Professor Fred Woods of Brigham Young University reveals an amazing story of shipwreck, faith, and perseverance. Join us on Saturday, October 4th at 1:00pm and discover the history of the 1855 shipwreck of  JULIA ANN, her ties to San Pedro, and the fate of her passengers and crew in Dr. Woods’ new book and accompanying documentary: “Divine Providence: the Wreck and Rescue of the JULIA ANN”.

The presentation and film viewing are free. Dr. Woods’ book: “Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the JULIA ANN” (DVD included) will be available for sale in the Sea Chest Museum shop for $24.99 plus tax. Friends of the LA Maritime Museum receive at 10% discount.

About the Author: Dr. Fred E. Woods is a professor at Brigham Young University in the department of Church History and Doctrine and earned his Ph.D. in Middle East studies from the University of Utah with an emphasis in Hebrew Bible. His recent works include “Finding Refuge in El Paso: The 1912 Mormon Exodus from Mexico”, and he has also produced several documentaries.  Dr. Woods’ specialty is the Mormon maritime migration to American in the nineteenth century, and he is the compiler and editor of the Mormon migration website




News: Summer 2014

The Visit of the World’s Largest Rubber Duck: Part II

Even though the Tall Ships Festival has ended, the world’s largest rubber duck will continue to visit the harbor from August 25th through September 7.   After “resting” over the Labor Day weekend, the duck will return to the downtown harbor (next to the Museum) on Tuesday, September 2. It will remain here through next Saturday, and make a final appearance in Wilmington (Banning’s Landing) on Sunday, September 7.

The world's largest rubber duck, as seen from the Museum windows.

The world’s largest rubber duck, as seen from the Museum windows.

Grand Opening of Downtown Harbor on Friday, June 20th

Celebrate the Opening of the New “downtown harbor” and plaza on Friday, June 20th from 5-8pm.  Enjoy music, food, and entertainment, check out the new marina, and enjoy the new plaza at the Museum’s front door!  The Museum will remain open until 7pm, so be sure to stop in for a visit and see how our exhibit renovations are shaping up.

The event is free to the public!

You can find more information and the official press release here:

Looking South

The new docks of the downtown harbor, looking South

News: Fall 2013

Museum to Celebrate 50th Birthday of Vincent Thomas Bridge on November 16th

On Saturday, November 16th from 1pm-3pm, the Museum will host a birthday celebration in honor of the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Vincent Thomas Bridge.  The 2.2 mile bridge, which opened in 1963, links San Pedro to Terminal Island and was the first welded suspension bridge in the United States.

Vincent Thomas Bridge

Vincent Thomas Bridge

Festivities include crafts, games, and a special birthday cake.   A special exhibit of bridge and ferry artifacts will be on view.  Admission is free.

Torrance Parker to Make Deep Dive on October 23

Torrance Parker

Torrance Parker

Renowned deep sea diver and author Torrance R. Parker, 85, will perform a live diving demonstration in a canvas diving suit with brass helmet on Wednesday, October 23 at 1:00 pm at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum followed by a book signing and reception for his second book: 20,000 Divers Under The Sea: A History of the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic Sponge Trades with an Account of Early Deep Diving.

Ms. Elisabeth Fotiadou Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles is honorary host for the event. All proceeds from book sales will go to the Friends of Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

The book presents a deep and thorough account of sponge diving from ancient Greece to its current epicenter in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Parker chronicles the history of sponge diving, an ancient trade for an ancient organism 600 million years old beneficial for humans through time — from the first sponge trade in the Aegean Sea – to its expansion into the greater Mediterranean area – to the technological change introduced to the Greek sponge fishermen in 1863 with compressed air diving apparatus. Parker connects Greek immigration to America and the establishment of the sponge diving industry in Florida.

A native of Oklahoma, Parker began his diving career on a Greek sponge diving vessel at age 16 during World War II. In 1947 he arrived in San Pedro and founded Parker Diving Service Inc., a general engineering and commercial diving firm. Since its founding, the company has performed work in many parts of the United States, as well as Central and South America. Still operating under the Parker name, it is now the oldest continuously operating commercial diving company in California.

The presentation is free, and the book will be available for purchase in the Sea Chest Museum Shop. (Friends of the LA Maritime Museum receive a 10% discount)


2000 Divers Under the Sea

Learn more about Torrance’s amazing career here.

Links to Media Coverage of the Event are here

Photos from the October 24th edition of the Daily Breeze are here

Attention, USS Los Angeles CA-135 Shipmates!

The Museum has received a grant from the US Navy Cruiser Sailors Association to purchase audio equipment in order to record oral histories from officers, crew, and families of the men who served aboard the USS Los Angeles CA-135.   Portions of interviews will be made available on our website and will be incorporated into the Museum’s CA-135 exhibit. If you would like to participate please contact us.

News: Spring 2013

The Steamship Historical Society has named the Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s tugboat ANGELS GATE as the 2013 Tugboat of the Year. The award was presented on Saturday, May 4th, during the Society’s annual conference held in Long Beach, California.

“Each year the Steamship Historical Society of America recognizes vessels, people or entities that have exemplified or made a significant contribution to the history of engine-powered vessels. ANGELS GATE was selected in recognition of her approaching  70th anniversary and the Museum’s devoted efforts to preserve her and make her available for educational and enjoyment purposes”, stated CDR John Hamma, USN (Ret), President of the Society.

Library Blog Post:


See the Library’s Blog, “Adventures in Maritime History” on blogspot.

A new book in the Library is now on display in the Navy Hall in the Library exhibit “Mess Halls and Ward Rooms, 1880s to 1950s”. The book, Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food by Lizzie (Elizabeth M.) Collingham is a rare glimpse into the real reasons why the allies were successful in World War II. The Taste of War is a 500 page testimonial to the hardships brought to countries that might otherwise be competitive with warring nations. See our reader’s advisory here.

An earlier post on maritime labor history is entitled “Labor’s Imprint on History”. Any aspect of maritime history is framed and supported by the labor of many numbers of men and women who’ve done the jobs by hand and with the sweat of their brows, not by machines, making possible the transport of material, loading fuel, repair, and numerous specialized tasks in shipping and navigation. We rely on the end result in merchandise, which is the sum of many distinctive operations both maritime- and transportation-wise on land, without much thought to the labor necessary to make the products available to us. The same is true of our food purchased from supermarkets. The book featured in this week’s post focuses on farm labor. The Museum’s Past Exhibit “At Work in California…” gives insight into visualizing labor’s struggles and issues.

Jack London’s novels and stories featured prominently in blog posts. Other recently read and commented new books include “At Drake’s Command”, possibly the first in a series about the second circumnavigation in Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, then named the Pelican. See the book on the shelves in the Library—take it out and read it—a fast-moving tale about the cook on the ship Pelican.

New Acquisitions


The painting in the Library by Roberto Lupetti depicts the classic maritime theme in which a gale at sea has pushed water over the bow, sending the crew to save the deck and below from rising water. What actually is their task? Come into the Library to view the picture of this dire activity.