Maritime and ship museums are a part of the living history in the sea-faring nations of the Baltic Cruising Region. Visitors enthralled by Stockholm’s Vasa Museum (pictured) will also want to see Oslo’s ship museums: The Polarship Fram Museum, featuring the entire original Arctic exploration ship FRAM, built in 1892, exhibited with its original interior and objects; Kon-Tiki Museum, containing the original vessel and objects from Thor Heyerdahl’s many exhibitions, including famous Kon-Tiki raft from 1947 and the papyrus raft RA II from 1970; and The Viking Ship Museum, featuring the restored Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune ships as well as other findings from royal burial mounds around the Oslo Fjord.
Turku’s Forum Marinum features famous vessels such as Suomen Joutsen (The Swan of Finland), the mine ship Keihässalmi and the beautiful bark, Sigyn. Malmo’s Medieval Ships Center features the reconstruction of two medieval cogs (ships used for transportation and trade on the Baltic Sea). The wrecks, one being the world’s largest cog, were found in the Malmö harbor during an excavation.
The Karlskrona Naval Shipyard (pictured) is one of few dockyards in the world where it is still possible to see buildings and docks specially designed for the construction of sailing warships. Karlskrona’s National Naval Museum dates back to 1752 when Adolf Fredrik, then the King of Sweden, decreed that a Ship’s Model Room be established. Ever since, the museum has been charged with the collection and preservation of artifacts that document the history and development of the Swedish Navy. The Museum houses a unique collection of figureheads.
Kalmar is home to the Royal Warship Kronan, once one of Sweden’s largest royal warships, which exploded and sank in 1686 during a battle off the coast of the Island of Öland. The wreck was located in 1981. Each year since, professional divers find new parts from the wreck that reveal more about the life on board. More than 25,000 finds are now on display at the exhibition, including several canons and Sweden’s largest gold coin discovery.
Gdynia features the Frigate “Dar Pomorza,” a three-masted frigate from 1909 and the ORP Blyskawica, a World War II destroyer. Denmark’s Maritime Museum at Kronborg illustrates the Danish merchant and shipping history form the medieval age to the present (the museum will be relocated in 2006).