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The official opening of the Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew

On June 13th a new building of the National Maritime Museum, Shipwreck Conservation Centre with Studio Warehouse in Tczew officially started to function.

The ceremony was the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year project, costing more than 22 million zlotys. 85 percent of funds came from the Norway Grants and 15 percent from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The first guests will visit our new Tczew facility on July 2nd.

The opening ceremony was attended by over 150 guests, including the Norwegian Ambassador to Poland, Karsten Klepsvik. Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Jaroslaw Sellin, was represented by Carolina Tylus – Sowa, Deputy Director of the Department of European Funds in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Also present during the ceremony were: voivode of the Pomeranian Voivodeship – Dariusz Denim and the Mayor of Tczew – Mirosław Pobłocki.

The official inauguration of the Shipwreck Conservation Center was attended by the representatives of associations, universities and institutions cooperating with the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk, including visitors from Norway: Hakon Halgrimsen, a representative of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Espen Wæhle, Monika Hovdan and Pål Thome from the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo, Harald Hamre of Stavanger Museum and Inger Marie Egenberg from the Museum of Archaeology in Stavanger. His Excellency, bishop Prof. Marcin Hintz, Ph.D, representing The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, and the mitered prelate, Stanislaw Land, blessed and consecrated the building of a new branch of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk.

– Both Poland and Norway have a very long maritime tradition. The Shipwreck Conservation Center offers a great opportunity to cultivate those traditions and display both the history of nautology and the contemporary achievements in the sea-related industry. – remarked at the opening the Norwegian Ambassador to Poland, Karsten Klepsvik, emphasizing the modernity and the great quality of the Tczew branch facilities.

The Shipwreck Conservation Centre provides excellent working conditions for the team of conservators from the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk. – The system of baths for the preservation of wood from underwater explorations, X-ray laboratory, 3D modelling scanner, spectrophotometer, gantry, mobile platforms: all this equipment is at the highest level – says Irena Rodzik, the Head of Conservation Department of NMM.

An innovative solution introduced in the new branch is the combination of the space dedicated to the relics’ preservation with a warehouse studio or collections storehouse which is accessible to the public. – The principle of openness to the visitor, which is the core of the building’s design, is equally important. Visitors will not only be able to see the unique collections, but also to participate in the life of the institution, to observe the relic’s conservation process – stresses Szymon Kulas, Deputy Director of NMM and project manager of the construction of the Shipwreck Conservation Centre.

It is worth noting that the exhibits in the warehouse of Shipwreck Conservation Centre will be regularly expanded. – We have prepared the first “set” of museum objects – for example the dugout from Senegal, structural elements of the deep-water wreckage known as “the Copper”, discovered in the Gulf of Gdańsk and researched by our archaeologists, or kayaks from our collection. Our befriended institutions are often seeking new pieces for the exhibitions. Warehouse Studio will allow their employees to inspect our collections and choose a proper exhibit – explains the Director of the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk, Ph.D. Jerzy Litwin.

Included in the Shipwreck Conservation Centre exposition are also three historic yachts, for many years stored in the warehouses of the National Maritime Museum – “Opty” on which Leonid Teliga circled the earth as the first Pole, “Dal” which, commanded by Andrew Bohomolec, was the first Polish ship to sail across the Atlantic between 1933-1934, and “Kumka IV” with an exceptional, welded construction. – The yacht “Dal” has undergone the greatest conservation treatment – says Radosław Paternoga from the History of Maritime Education Department of NMM. – Whilst “Kumka IV” and “Opty” required no such extended preparations. We checked the state of the skin, supplemented the missing elements and conducted their maintenance.

Additionally, some interactive educational stations have been prepared in the new branch of NMM. A Virtual Maritime Museum has been designed – a set of apps for desktops and mobile devices which will aid the educational activities conducted jointly with the Vistula River Museum, a branch of NMM in Tczew.

The first guests will be able to visit the Shipwreck Conservation Center with Studio Warehouse in Tczew on July 2nd.

Project “Shipwreck Conservation Centre with Studio Warehouse in Tczew – construction of new cultural infrastructure of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk” is being conducted as a part of the Conservation and Revitalization of National Heritage Programme and has been co-financed by the Norway Grants and EEA Grants from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as by Polish national funds. The total cost of the project is 22 million Polish zloty. The project is conducted due to the Polish-Norwegian cooperation with the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo and the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.