The museum is run by Robert Cadwalader, who knows the town’s maritime history and that of the museum itself.
Mr Cadwalader said: “During the 1970s the late maritime historians Aled Eames and Lewis Lloyd recorded the memories and anecdotes of the survivors from the age of sail. Thankfully they published books, lectured and recorded TV programmes. At this time a small private museum was established on an old sailing ketch in the harbour at Porthmadog. In 1982 a vessel and some artefacts were handed over to an independent charitable trust which moved to an old slate shed. This site developed into the present museum.
“Displays and interactive activities tell the story of the district’s maritime history and traditions; the strong connections with the quarries up in the hills and the narrow gauge railways which brought the slates down to the port to be loaded on locally built ships and transported all over the world. In addition there are exhibits showing the district’s contribution to the British Merchant Navy over the years.
“Tourists from all over the world visit as well as locals, who are encouraged to come and see how people made a living from the sea. The museum is keen to record anecdotes, old nautical terms and words which might have fallen out of use and are in danger of being forgotten. It is important to record these so the maritime heritage of Llŷn and Eifionydd is preserved.”
Reading an excerpt from an article at the museum published in January 1911, Mr Cadwalader said: “Portmadoc and its immediate neighbourhood has a population of not more than some 4,000. But in proportion it must have turned out more sailors than any other place in the [United] Kingdom. Almost every other house has a sailor. Many have two or three. Portmadoc is essentially a town of seafarers. The rest are connected with the slate trade and made the town one of the chief slate centres in the world.”