GulfQuest: National Maritime Museum

  • May 1, 2017
  • /   ALC Spring 2017 Issue
  • /   Magazine Articles,playExplore,Magazine Articles
GulfQuest is the world’s only maritime museum dedicated to the historical, cultural and economic significance of the Gulf of Mexico. With 90 interactive exhibits, simulators, displays and theaters, GulfQuest offers immersive experiences in an array of maritime topics including early settlements and trade routes, marine archeology and shipwrecks, Gulf marine  life, weather and hurricanes, marine and coastal environments, maritime commerce and shipbuilding, ship navigation and communication, offshore oil/gas platforms, and much more.
GulfQuest’s newest traveling exhibit SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure, contains over 500 authentic shipwreck artifacts, a variety of interactive elements and graphic display panels. SHIPWRECK! allows visitors to experience the thrill of shipwreck exploration while investigating some of the world’s greatest maritime stories. Featuring authentic shipwreck artifacts recovered in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel and Mediterranean Sea, the exhibit takes visitors on a voyage through more than 2,000 years of seafaring history. A variety of authentic shipwreck treasure, decorative porcelain figurines, personal items like combs and tooth brushes and even the 300-year-old logarithmic calculator on a folding rule – the oldest ever recovered on a shipwreck site, is on display.

The pioneering techniques and technology that allowed the discovery of these wreck sites are also presented. A full-size replica of ZEUS, an eight-ton Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) which acts as the archaeologist’s hands and eyes in the deep ocean is part of the exhibit. Guests can test their skills by attempting to pick up artifacts with a working model of ZEUS’ robotic arm. An interactive version of the SS Republic photomosaic is also on display. Visitors can zoom in on specific areas of the photomosaic to find artifacts as small as a domino. More than 2,500 digital photographs, taken by ZEUS, were stitched together to create this large scale photographic map of the wreck site. Photo: Tad Denson, Artifacts being collected by ZUES’ robotic arm. Finally, SHIPWRECK!’s "World of Pirates” interactive gallery and activities immerse visitors with the lore, legends, and facts of pirates of the Caribbean, Barbary Corsairs, Privateers and Buccaneers. Guests can learn how to identify pirate vessels on the horizon using spyglasses, raise the banners of notorious pirates, learn to tie essential knots for life on the high seas, and create their own pirate in an interactive game!

GulfQuest is on the Mobile Riverfront at 155 South Water Street. It’s open Thursday through Saturday. Admission is $14 for adults; $11 for youth ages 5-17; free for those 5 and younger; $13 discount for seniors, active military or college students. Parking is free. For more information, visit