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About Us

Based in the West of Scotland, with sites in Irvine and Dumbarton, the Scottish Maritime Museum holds an important nationally recognised collection, encompassing a variety of historic vessels, artefacts, fascinating personal items and the largest collection of shipbuilding tools and machinery in the country. The buildings and sites which the Scottish Maritime Museum occupies are themselves part of the heritage collection.

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine is housed within the vast, glass-roofed Victorian Linthouse. This A listed ‘cathedral of engineering’ was formerly the Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard in Govan before being salvaged and relocated to Irvine in 1991.

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton is located on the site of the former, influential and innovative William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s first commercial ship testing facility, the Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank.

Overview of Irvine

The Linthouse, originally built in 1872 to the design of John Frederick Spencer, a naval architect who had worked with Brunel. It was extended and altered more than once during the following 100 years of its working life and finally, when threatened with demolition for industrial redevelopment, it was dismantled and rebuilt in its current Irvine site in the latter part of the 1980s.

Within the Linthouse you will find historic boats and other artefacts along with art and sculpture related to Scottish maritime history. The Museum, founded on the historic and continuing importance of the sea to Scotland, opens up the past to everyone.

Overview of Dumbarton

Throughout its working life, the Tank tested models of a variety of vessels and explored various propulsion methods, including propellers, paddles and vane wheels. Experiments were carried out on models of the Denny-Brown stabilisers and the hovercraft to gauge their feasibility.

A visit to the Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank in Dumbarton is an opportunity to immerse yourself in life at the Victorian Denny Shipyard and learn how ships were designed and tested. Try your hand at smoothing and carving a real wax hull model and test hull designs in the mini tank.

Explore ship models, photographs and historic artefacts in the Propeller Workshop. Find out about the Denny Brothers, builders of the famous Cutty-Sark and inventors of the Denny helicopter, Denny hovercraft and Denny-Brown stabilisers.

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