CIMM displays an extensive number of exquisitely detailed ship models. The majority of these models represent the “Age of Sail”. In addition, our models depict ships from many parts of the world and span more than 5,000 years of maritime history. We start with a model of a boat made from reeds representing ships that sailed on the Nile River in 3,000 BC and continue to present day steel behemoths that carry up to 6,500 automobiles to our local Port of Hueneme.

Our trained volunteer docents will guide you through this crowded miniature anchorage and OH! what stories they can tell. Your docent might: ask you why Ancient Egyptians used papyrus to build their reed boats; explain how a Roman galley sunk other ships using the galley as a weapon; discuss how Drake’s famous Golden Hind relates to the major jewelry area of today’s London, Hatton Garden; point out a 17th century ship whose construction cost exceeded the then current norms by 1,000 percent and was a factor in the English revolution; show you a 100 gun ship of the line that sank in water shallower than the top of her masts without a shot being fired causing the death of over 1,000 people; direct you to the models of two famous fighting ships, both over 200 years old but remain commissioned ships in their Navies; identify the last surviving 19th century whaling ship and show you the precarious perch where whalers spent hours on duty searching the horizon for whales; tell the story of a World War One German raider that sunk more than 15 ships without any loss of life; and of course all these stories, and more, are supported by the Museum’s finely detailed models.

For the ship model enthusiast, CIMM is a Mecca of the art. The Museum also sponsors a Ship Model Guild, an active club of local model builders, who meet once a month at the Museum. The public is welcome to the monthly meetings, third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM and all are welcome to join the Guild.


collection highlights

marple ship models

CIMM is proud to display the entire collection of local ship model builder Edward Marple, arguably one of the best ship model makers in the world. 


prisoner of war bone models

The second collection includes nine Prisoner of War models from the Napoleonic Wars, the era covering 1790 to 1815. Many French sailors were captured by the British during those wars and imprisoned in England. These prisoners eventually developed a small business building model ships and selling them to the British people. Hundreds of these ships were built and the majority were made from bones left over from their meals. CIMM boasts the second largest collection of this type of model in the United States.