Stockholm: Vasa Museum


Beautiful scenes on our walk to the Vasa Museum

Koen and I love visiting museums when we’re doing city trips, so we had to visit the Vasa Museum. To quote the museum’s site:

“The Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the world’s only preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia.”

If you’re planning on visiting, you really only need about an hour – maybe 2 hours max. It’s really impressive to see the ship. Definitely watch the introduction video before you start exploring! We learned a lot about how the Vasa ship is continually being preserved – their challenges and successes.

Koen and I also like to walk as much as possible, and Stockholm is beautiful. The sun was shining and slowly melting the frozen layer on the water. Such a gorgeous walk.



The Vasa Museum



Koen with the Vasa ship



An eroded lion: the lion masks which today decorate Vasa’s gunports are in relatively good condition. when the nails that kept them in place rusted, they fell into the protective silt of Stockholm harbor. In contrast, this mask remained longer on the ship. Bacteria attacked the wood surface, iron and sulphur diffused in, and water currents eroded the lion’s face.



Conservation and cosmetics: When PEG, polyethylene glycol, diffuses into waterlogged wood, it stabilizes the cells and prevents the wood from shrinking and cracking when drying. PEG is also used in lipstick and skin lotion. After PEG impregnation, the surface of these two small sculptures was treated with another layer of PEG. The excess PEG has been removed on one sculpture, leaving a shiny, waxy finish.



Preserved pottery



The message of the sculptures: The Vasa symbolized a ruler who wished to perform stylishly on the European scene. The sculptures were a tribute to the king but at the same time admonished the Swedish people to live up to the virtues possed by Gustavus Adolphus; courage, wisdom, and piety. Inspiration came from the Bible, ancient mythology and the world of sagas and fables.



After 12 years of research, the ship rendered in color



The recovered colors: During a twelve-year period more than a thousand pigment samples have been taken from the Vasa. Some tweny different kinds of paints have been identified. The pigments are primarily made from minerals and plants, though synthetic paints such as lead-white and red lead have also been used.



The sculptures in color

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