When we travel, around the world or in the U.S., we try to visit major and minor maritime museums, for two reasons: 1) boats in all forms are a fascinating genre of terrestrial spaceship, and 2) museums dedicated to ships and those who steer them are glistening capsules of history, preserving the moments when daring people gallantly met the elements of nature with the technologies of their times, in search of trade, adventure, conquest and even sheer entertainment.

Here are some pics of maritime museums we encountered in the northern Mediterranean on cruise in 2008.