The museum and knowledge kept inside its walls have an irreplaceable role in the history of Croatian maritime and shipbuilding heritage, which makes it a significant part of the European culture.
Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding is located in the village of Betina, one of the very special places to be found along the Dalmatian coast, on the island of Murter. Betina is a small historical village of around 800 inhabitants and is basically oriented around tourism, fishing, agriculture and craftsmanship. Among all, Betina has an outstanding reputation and is specifically known for its long tradition in wooden shipbuilding and is famous for its excellent shipbuilders. Betina nowadays is one of few remaining centres of small wooden shipbuilding on the Croatian Adriatic. There are many types of ships being built in Betina, from small boat kaić (4 m long) to big cargo ships (27 m long). One of the most important dimensions of the Museum is that it is an ideal platform for sharing knowledge between the older generations of shipbuilders, todays visitors, locals, and possibly, future shipbuilders.
The highlight of shipbuilding skills of Betina’s shipbuilders is the Betina gajeta, 5 to 8 meters long, 2 to 2,6 m wide, with the sail as the elementary navigation asset. The skill and the art making of this wooden boat is recognized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, and protected as a part of the intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding perfectly illustrates the significance and importance of local heritage, which is seen in a number of local traditions presented in the Museum. Social benefits are much greater awareness of local heritage and tradition, gahering together and having the opportunity to hear the village stories and traditions which are being renewed through a whole other perspective.
It could be said that the Museum project is an open-ended process. The second phase of the Museum is to set up our Open-air museum with two main components being boats in harbour with boats on display utilised in everyday traditional activity, and a walk of fame styled names of Betina shipbuilders being installed in the path from the main square to the museum doors. The museum’s part of the harbour will be a vivid insight into Betina shipbuilding tradition.