Four stories from one sea
The touring international marine exhibition “1 Sea – 4 Stories”, now hosted by the Polish Maritime Museum (CMM) in Gdańsk as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, has come from Rostock. The city on the River Warnow and the third largest Baltic port of Germany was the starting point of the tour of four South-Baltic countries: Germany, Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The exhibition marks the completion of the joint undertaking of 4 maritime museums within an EU project named SeaSide.
Sea trade routes had for years linked countries of the South Baltic until the post-WWII division of the region into the West and the East. By displaying a variety of maritime heritage related issues, maritime museums from four Baltic countries provide evidence of both common and different past of the countries of the South-Baltic region. The exhibition has been based on four major topics placed within a framework story, says Jadwiga Klim of the CMM, the Polish coordinator and curator of the exhibition. The exhibition – vast and rich in content – shows the maritime heritage from different perspectives, stressing what is of particular significance for individual nations and museums. In this way, we wanted to strengthen the common Baltic identity and underpin the great potential of South Baltic cities and regions, adds Tomasz Bednarz, the other curator of the exhibition.
The development of the sailing ship in the Baltic
The Maritime Museum Rostock presents the history of the sailing vessels in the Baltic from 10th to 20th century, exhibiting six models of various sail ships. These include an early mediaeval trader, a mediaeval merchant cog, a galleon Adler von Lübeck (The Eagle of Lubeck) – a man-of-war of the Hanseatic League, Swedish galleon Vasa of 1628, Swedish mail boat Hiorten, 19th-century German brig J. H. Epping. More information about each of them is provided in the form of texts, drawings and photos.
Spread sails: Klaipeda sailing fleet
The Lithuanian part of the exhibition prepared by the Lithuanian Sea Museum unveils the little-known era of the sailing ship in Lithuania – in Klaipeda it culminated in the 18th and 19th centuries and came to a close as the steam ship advanced.
The Baltic: Beyond the horizon – personal stories from the Cold War era
The Cold War and how it affected the post-war relations between the Baltic countries is the theme undertaken by the Swedish Naval Museum in Karlskrona. In Sweden, with its non-aligned status at the time, the personal dimension of the Cold War conflict was felt most strongly. Sweden got closer to the scene when, in1981, a Soviet U137 submarine went aground within a restricted zone off the naval base in Karlskrona. This part of the exhibition focuses on personal stories from the 1980s told by Swedish people.
Diving to the underwater world
The part prepared by the CMM is devoted to the achievements of marine archaeology – the field once pioneered by the museum and in which it continues to play a leading role. We are introduced to the subject by the history of CMM-conducted explorations and the presentation of the most interesting sites and shipwrecks explored by the museum’s marine archaeologists. These include the mediaeval port in the town of Puck, the Copper ship(14th c.), the Solen (17th c.), the General Carleton of Whitby (18th c.), the W-27 (18th c.), the Loreley (19th c.) and the Arngast (20th c.). The exposition contains information on the history of the vessels and sites, old photos showing underwater explorations together with the diving suits that were used when marine archaeologists began their work in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the artefacts from the wrecks. There is also a film showing the early-1990s exploration of the W-28 Arngast.
While being detailed on some issues, the exhibition offers a broad outlook of the Baltic and is meant for both adults and children. Both experts and those with a passion for the sea are encouraged to see it. Model vessel enthusiasts may be attracted by a valuable collection of Baltic ships and warships; those interested in what is shrouded in the sea depths will want to see the exhibits recovered from the wrecks: the naval gun from the de Jonge Serp, a collection of buckles from the General Carleton or the copper plates from the Copper ship.
The exhibition “1 Sea – 4 Stories” can be seen at the Granaries in the isle of Ołowianka – the CMM head office. Its next stage will be Karlskrona, from where it will travel to Klaipeda in the Spring of 2011, thus completing its tour of the Baltic coast.
“1 Sea – 4 Stories”
The Granaries 1.10.2010 – 28.11.2010