Ships. I find them boring. I don’t understand how they work, can’t remember any of the ship jargon (starboard is left, yeah?), can’t tie knots to save my life…
but two of the museums I’ve most enjoyed myself in were about ships! What gives?
The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is literally centred around one ship: the Vasa. This behemoth of a ship was commissioned by one of the Vasa kings and it was the biggest ship ever, with two gundecks. It was so big, in fact, that it sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 before even making it out of the Stockholm harbour. Embarrassing! The ship has been looted many times and it wasn’t until 1961 that technology was advanced enough to pull it out of the water. It now sits in the middle of the musem with the mast (mast?) poking out of the roof. Cool huh?
International Maritime Museum of Hamburg is about pretty much everything you can think of that’s related to ships. Pirates, swords, voyages, climate change, deep sea creatures, Jules Verne, wars – you name it and it’s probably in this 9-storey museum. The architecture and design of the building’s interior is an attraction in itself. It’s designed like a ship, with wooden flooring but lots of glass so that it feels modern and sleek. It has half-decks to break up the blitzkrieg of information and flood of exhibits, to overwhelm you less :P There’s an impressive amount of English-language display signs, too. Did I mention there’s an entire half-deck dedicated to pirates?