Warehouse in Tczew, a new branch of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk, was built in 2016. This is one of the few places in the country where you can get acquainted with the techniques of the construction of the old boats and ships, learn about the history of Polish sailing and observe the Museum’s conservators at work.
Project – funds and cooperation
Shipwreck Conservation Centre project costed over 22 million zł, 85% of which came from the Norway Grants and 15% from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Project was realised in cooperation with two Norwegian institutions: Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo and Museum of Cultural History – University of Oslo.
Facility: Tczew city address
Located in the centre of Tczew, the Shipwreck Conservation Centre borders with the Vistula River Museum, an institution dedicated, among other things, to the economic exploit of the river. It’s here that, after World War I, the first Maritime School was founded, and the construction of a sea port was planned. The site of the new branch only three years ago housed the museum conservation workshop. The conservators of the contemporary National Maritime Museum worked in the difficult conditions inside the buildings and temporary warehouses of the former near-factory workshops.
The building – modern and open
Shipwreck Conservation Centre combines in its form the historical, industrial context of the neighboring 19th-century buildings with the modern architecture. A new branch of the National Maritime Museum was designed by the architects from FORMA architekci Ltd., under the managment of Ms. Aleksandra Wojtczak-Duch. Skanska SA company was the investment’s contractor.
The building consists of the two overlapping solids, the shape of which reflects the division into two basic parts: Conservation Workshop and Studio Warehouse, connected to each other through the communication department and a few offices.
Building was designed and constructed with due respect for the environment: appropriate materials were used, renewable energy sources utilised, i.e. the system of flexible photovoltaic cells on the roof. One of the main spaces is the studio warehouse, adjusted for touristic purposes, where the relics are displayed with help of the steel substructure with a system of electric chain hoisting winches and special lifting slings. The location follows the principle of openness, that is to say allows for the visitors to participate in the Museum’s daily working routine.
Relics – treasures from the Baltic Sea
The construction elements and relics excavated from the wrecks explored by the NMM Underwater Archaeology Department, including 16-meteres keel, keelson, fragment of the board, anchor and part of the cargo from the fifteenth-century wreck, so-called “Copper Ship”, are exhibited in the studio warehouse. Particularly impressive is the wall of the warehouse with a collection of dugouts, boats and kayaks from the museum collections. Displayed as well are historic yachts: “Opty” on which Leonid Teliga single-handedly circled the earth as the first Pole, “Dal”, the first Polish ship to sail to the United States with Andrzej Bohomolec, Jerzy Świechowski and Jan Witkowski on board, and welded ship “Kumka IV” – a relict of the old Polish engineering ideas.
Other part of the warehouse studio is equipped with a partly glazed, sliding shelves where the smaller exhibits – pieces of the cargo and marine equipment – can be seen. With the help of mobile apps and computer workstations you can find out more about places where the relic was found as well as its history and construction.
Conservation – setting the global standards
Conservation Workshop possesses the equipment essential to the process of the relics’ conservation, ranging from their protection in the place of excavation to the preventive treatment. Large size hall, without any separating walls and operated by an overhead crane with a lifting capacity of 5 tons, allows for the conservation and installation of large-scale relics. Well-equipped workshops – blacksmith-locksmith and boat building-carpentry – allow for the proper reconstruction of old boats and ships and the mobile platforms expedite the monitoring and conservation of the relics hung at the exhibition.
Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew has one of the best research equipment in the community. Our technology for the conservation of wet archaeological wood, a specialized bath system for conservation processes, as well as metal preservation technology – blast machine and micro blast machine for removing rust deposits on the metal relics – are top-notch facilities. X-ray laboratory and scanner, accelerating and facilitating the processing of X-ray images, are also a world-class machinery.
Education – virtually and for children
Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew is also a thriving educational institution with an attractive offer for pupils and younger kids. Only here our visitors can find out how the work of underwater archaeologist looks like and learn about the exhibits’ journey from the seabed to the museum display cases. Interactive educational stations will assure an entirely unique experience.
One of the main attractions of the Shipwreck Conservation Centre, also dedicated for the educational purposes, is the augmented reality (AR) – technology used by cultural institutions all around the world. Using the app, available for mobiles with Android and iOS systems, you can watch special presentations describing i.e. the historic yachts or the side of a medieval ship, as well as conduct the conservation of the objects excavated from the shipwrecks.
The Virtual Maritime Museum, which is a set of apps that are available both for the desktops and mobile devices, can be considered a vital part of the project as well as a special platform supporting the educational activities and facilitating access to the information about the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk and its collections.
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.