One year before his retirement in 2001, the then-president of MAPFRE, Julio Castelo, received an unexpected Christmas gift: a model of the Juan Sebastián de Elcano ship. This first model was the starting point in what became an impressive collection that currently comprises 40 pieces that have been on show since 2014 at the permanent Naval Models Museum at number 14 Calle Bárbara de Braganza in Madrid.
The Museum was created thanks to the donation by the Castelo family of their entire collection of model ships to Fundación MAPFRE and currently comprises an extensive collection of scale models of historical vessels that were built between the 17th and 20th centuries.
The collection, which was put together in its entirety by Julio Castelo Matrán, is divided into two main sections: a permanent one and a traveling one, with the following characteristics:
- All the models are at least one meter long, which is the largest size on the market for these kinds of classic vessels.
- All the materials used in the models are of the highest quality: fine woods for the hulls, decks and masts and bronze for the cannons and ornamentation.
- The exhibition consists of period American and European ships from between the 17th and 20th centuries. Most of them are historic vessels, the flagships of their respective national navies and the protagonists of important events, whether in battle or not.