Aberdeen Maritime Museum - History

Aberdeen Maritime Museum - History

Provost Ross' House on the Shiprow was built in 1593 by master-mason Andrew Jamieson and later extended to the south in 1710. It became the residence of Provost John Ross of Arnage in 1702 who was a ship owner.

During the 19th century the building was divided into tenements and then eventually was reduced to a derelict condition by 1950. The House was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland and then leased to Aberdeen City Council in 1984 when it became the Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

The maritime collections predated the establishment of the Museum by many decades. Indeed the first acquisition was the model of the steam ship S.S. Thermopylae in 1892. The maritime section of the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Regional Museum grew during the 20th century principally in the subject areas of fishing, shipbuilding and harbour development. During the 1970s the collection was exhibited in the Cowdray Hall basement and collecting in the field of North Sea oil and gas began.

Within a few years of the opening of the Museum in Provost Ross's House the Council purchased the Trinity Congregational Church with a view to converting this 1877 building into a major extension to the Museum. Architects, museum designers and curators worked over a five year period to develop the exhibitions and design the services that would culminate in the opening of the new Museum in May 1997.

The design created a new steel and glass Link Building to be constructed between Provost Ross's House and the Church. This building allowed the modern offshore oil exhibits to be showcased using the nine meter high Murchison oil platform model as its centrepiece. Traditional industries of shipbuilding, fishing and the harbour were displayed in the House and Church while the addition of an Education Suite, café and shop created much needed enhancements to the service.

In 1997 Aberdeen Maritime Museum won the Scottish Museum of the Year, the Supreme Award in Regeneration from the Royal institution of Architects in Scotland, the Aberdeen Civic Award and the Best Building category at the Scottish Architectural Awards.

To prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus and to protect employee and public health, Aberdeen City Council has taken the decision to temporarily close a number of buildings to the general public, including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Tolbooth Museum. The Council will continue to monitor and review the situation, taking account of evolving government guidance. Updates on re-openings will be announced when known.


Aberdeen Maritime Museum
AB11 5BY

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 337700
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 213066

Email: info@aagm.co.uk


Aberdeen Built Ships Project

Access Aberdeen's shipbuilding history through the collections of Aberdeen Maritime Museum.


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