Artfully maintained, with an immaculately landscaped central patio, the Museo Naval (Paseo 21 de Mayo s/n, tel. 0322/437651) is open 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily except Monday; admission costs about US$1 for adults, US$0.50 for children. From Plaza Aduana (Plaza Wheelwright), Ascensor Artillería climbs almost to the entrance.
Housed in Cerro Artillería’s former Escuela Naval (Naval Academy), this misleadingly labeled museum is far more naval than maritime—it focuses on famous military figures such as Bernardo O’Higgins, the mercenary Lord Thomas Cochrane, and Admiral Manuel Blanco Encalada, and promotes nationalistic explanations of events such as the War of the Pacific (including its foolhardy hero, Arturo Prat).
It also pays exaggerated homage to the authoritarian Diego Portales, a behind-the-scenes political operative who promoted Chilean seapower in early independence times, but contains next to nothing on early exploration and discovery, and even less on the contemporary significance of maritime resources in the Chilean economy.