The museum has existed since 1937 but was given a purpose-built new home in 2001. An aquarium to show living cod was added in 2013. The people of the nearby Aveiro Lagoon were leaders in the fishing industry and the exploitation of cod stocks off Newfoundland and Greenland. The museum preserves a selection of historical vessels and large-scale models, from early sailing boats to modern trawlers. Visitors can go on board a cod boat to imagine the life of the men who made it their home for months at sea. The museum displays tools and equipment used in fishing and imagery of maritime life and it explores aspects of the natural history of the sea. In the harbour at Jardim Oudinot, 8km away, the museum cares for the cod-fishing trawler Santo André. This 71-m ship was built in the Netherlands in 1948. Visitors can go on board and see the equipment and accommodation from its working life.