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Going about


I went to the Naval Museum soon after we came to Cartagena. I remember having to ring the bell to get in. I remember the piles of artefacts without sufficient labelling. I remember it as being an interesting visit.

When the University took over and converted the Cuartel de Instrucción de Marinería de Cartagena, the old Naval Training Barracks,  into its Business Faculty they left space for a new Naval Museum in the building. I'm not sure whether it's a replacement for the old museum or an addition to the cultural offer in Cartagena. Either way it's now open, I wasn't working today so I walked down and had a look.

I was mightily disappointed. It didn't have the charm of the old place - where a scrap yard quality submarine battery would be displayed next to a model of some un-named 19th Century man of war - and neither did it have the whizz bangs of a modern museum. The rooms were a bit bare too and didn't show the building off to its best. Possibly though it's a work in progress because there were a couple of workmen doing some minor repairs and the museum staff were all hovering in the entrance. Maybe it's not really working at its full potential yet, not fully up and running.

There was a good little exhibition about the restoration and content of some big thick, leather bound tomes, related to the Spanish galleys that plied the Mediterranean back in the 16th Century. The exhibition told an interesting story in a clear and informative way There was even a video display. Otherwise though the museum had a few models, a few paintings, a lot of bare walls and nothing much else.

Perhaps the intention is that it will complement the other Naval Museum by adding something of the romance and philosophy of the sea to the simple (if confused) narrative of the other building. Or maybe it's just another poor Spanish museum.

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