Operating under the Swedish National Maritime Museums, the Vasa Ship Museum is a world-class museum that focuses on the vasa history, and the world of maritime. The museum is located on an island known as Djurgarden, and it is among one of the most visited museums in the world.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that the only almost fully intact Vasa Warship is found there. The Vasa was a well-armored warship that was equipped with 64 guns and used in the 17th century to fight Sweden’s enemies in the sea. Here we will take a look at the History of the Vasa, The Vasa Museum, and much more.
About The Ship
The powerful warship was built from 1626 to 1628 to help the Swedish people fight their enemies and conquer the world. Before the 17th Century, Sweden was a sparsely populated country, poor and of little influence.
As time went by, the country harnessed its resources and stared growing its power in continental politics. The rise in power was made possible by succeeding able monarchs and supporting highly efficient military organizations.
So what made the people of Sweden build the Vasa? As you expand your territory and gain influence on the global scene, you will encounter issues and eventually go to war.
Gustavus Adolphus, the nation’s King at that time, saw the need to establish a robust naval presence as most of the ships that were in use were primarily small or medium sized with single gun decks. In response to that, the King ordered the construction of multiple vessels with full gun decks, and the Vasa was first in line.
The ship took two years to be constructed and launched into the sea, ready for action. The Vasa was filled with powerful artillery, which made it possible for it to fight its enemies.
The ship was also built with a sleek design filled with sculptures, pendants, and precious metals. Unfortunately, the boat sank in 1628 while it was on its maiden voyage.
History of The Vasa Ship Museum
Before the construction of this museum, the Vasa was stored in the vasa shipyard. In 1981, the government of Sweden put in place measures to facilitate the construction of the Vasa Ship Museum. This is because there was a need to construct a permanent structure to preserve the rich history of Sweden embedded in the ship.
The government then launched a design competition for architects. Over 380 architects sent in ideas of how the museum should be constructed. The model that was picked was the one from Goran Mansson and Jakobback.
The construction of the museum began in 1987, and by 1989, visitors were being allowed into the half-completed building. Later on, the museum was completed, and it was officially opened in 1990.
When you visit the Vasa ship museum, you will come across a wide range of exhibitions. These exhibitions play a vital role in creating a vivid picture in your mind of how the shipped looked and how the Swedish battle era was. Here are some of the exhibitions found in the vasa museum:
The Vasa Model
The vasa model is one of the most conspicuous exhibitions stored in the museum. The model, which is the closest thing to how the ship looked like when it was completed, is situated in the building’s hallway. The model is built on a scale of 1:10 and gives visitors an idea of how the ship looked like when it sailed out in 1628.
The model is a result of 12,000 hours of work by five model builders who worked tirelessly to create the masterpiece. The model features a wide variety of things, like guns and the Swedish coat of arms. Everything is painted correctly to ensure that it looked exactly like the vasa ship.
The vasa model is, indeed, a masterpiece. When you walk around the museum, it is rare for you to miss a crowd of people staring at the model ship. One of the things that attract people to the model is the fact that it is fitted with over 500 sculptures.
Life on Board
The “life on board” exhibition tries to showcase how the people lived on the ship when it constructed and let into the sea. According to the artifacts retrieved, it was deduced that the commanders of the vasa used utensils and containers made of imported pottery and glass. The crew, on the other hand, used wooden utensils.
The archeologists also examined various objects of the wrecked vessel and concluded that the ship would have had a crew of 300 soldiers and 145 sailors. A large number of people on the vessel were needed to handle the cannon and rig effectively and efficiently in case they had to combat enemies in the sea.
If the vessel was not preparing to go for war, the number of people on the ship would be much lower. The exhibition features a full-case model of the upper part of the deck where the guns were possibly located. You also get to see the interior portion of the model, which shows several men carrying huge items.
These men could possibly be the crew as the commanders were said to exhibit a lifestyle of higher standards.
Sweden is a country that has a rich historical and cultural background. A considerable part of this history characterized by the nation’s rise to power in the 17th century by conquering its enemies and expanding its territory.
In as much as Sweden had a strong influence on the global political scene, it was weak in terms of sea combat. The weakness at sea led to the construction of the Vasa, a large mighty battleship built with massive artillery. The boat took two years for it to be constructed but sank on its maiden trip.
The wrecked vessel was later on recovered and stored in a permanent facility known as the Vasa Ship museum. Today people from all over the world travel to the museum to have a glimpse of the ship and the various exhibitions displayed.