Los Angeles Maritime Museum

Los Angeles Maritime Museum

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum is a non-profit museum located on the main channel in Los Angeles Harbor, San Pedro, California. The museum is housed in the former San Pedro Municipal Ferry Terminal building, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Municipal Ferry Bldg

Terminal Island Ferry (Photo Courtesy: Pomona Public Library)
Terminal Island Ferry


The Municipal Ferry Building was built in 1941 as a Works Project Administration project. Designed by B. Irvine in the Streamline Moderne style, the building was a working ferry terminal from 1941 to 1963. During those years, ferries transported thousands of passengers and vehicles to and from the canneries and military bases on Terminal Island. Both the exterior and interior of the ferry building were featured in the 1947 film The Street with No Name.

In 1963, the Vincent Thomas Bridge was completed connecting the mainland to Terminal Island, and there was no longer a need for ferry service. The ferry service was terminated. The terminal building on the Terminal Island side was demolished, but the building on the San Pedro side was used for many years as an overflow office building by the Los Angeles Harbor Department.

Vincent Thomas Bridge under construction in 1963. (photo courtesy San Pedro Bay Historical Society)
Vincent Thomas Bridge under construction in 1963. (Photo Courtesy: San Pedro Bay Historical Society)

As the ferry building began to deteriorate, historically-minded citizens of San Pedro sought to have it restored. They succeeded in having the building designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument (no. 146) in 1975, and starting in 1976 the building was renovated and converted into the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. The renovation was designed by Modernist architect James Pulliam and the museum opened in 1979 as a result of widespread community efforts.


Exhibits include a history of commercial diving in Los Angeles Harbor, a Navy Hall that features large ship models such as the U.S. Navy cruiser Los Angeles, the Poseidon miniature from the 1972 disaster film, and an exhibit that chronicles the once thriving San Pedro fishing industry. Upstairs are models of merchant ships such as the Silverpalm, square riggers, sail boats, and also a fully operational ham radio station. The museum operates the tugboat Angels Gate, built in 1944 for the Army Transportation Service. Angels Gate was originally known as ST-695, and was among the fleet of tugboats designed for the WWII European theater. Visitors can participate in classes on such topics as small boat handling, scrimshaw, celestial navigation, and ship model building.


Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Closed Mondays and Holidays
Suggested Donation: $3.00 Adults, $1.00 Seniors, Children: FREE
The museum is ADA Accessible.
Group tours are available by appointment.

Los Angeles Maritime Museum
Berth 84, San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 548-7618

The Museum is located at the foot of 6th Street in John S. Gibson Park. The park includes monuments to the US Navy heavy cruiser LOS ANGELES, the Fishing Industry Memorial, the Bloody Thursday Monument, and the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial. The Museum is a special facility of the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks.

Auto Ferry Leaving Terminal Island for San Pedro, 1937 (Photo Courtesy: Pomona Public Library)
Auto Ferry Leaving Terminal Island for San Pedro, 1937 (Photo Courtesy: Pomona Public Library)

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