The museum is situated on the historic Shiprow in the heart of the city, near the harbour. It makes use of a range of buildings including a former church and Provost Ross' House, one of the oldest domestic buildings in the city.
The museum tells the story of the city's long relationship with the North Sea. Collections cover shipbuilding, fast sailing ships, fishing and port history, and displays on the North Sea oil industry. It also commands a spectacular viewpoint over the busy harbour.
Collection highlights include ship plans and photographs from the major shipbuilders of Aberdeen including Hall, Russell & Company Ltd., Alexander Hall & Sons, Duthie and John Lewis & Co. Ltd. and Walter Hood & Co.