Continued from page 2
LEFT: A diver holds the skull of a Vasa
crew member during the 1961 recovery operation.
The final lift
In the morning sunshine of April 24, 1961, the
final lift took place. Crowds gathered on the waterfront, just as they had 333
years earlier to witness the Vasa's maiden voyage. Hundreds of
journalists from around the world were to cover the event, along with a brass
band. At 9:03 a.m. precisely, the Vasa finally surfaced.
"It's a strange feeling to be transported
back to he early 17th Century," Anders Franzén told a news reporter from
Swedish Television as he stepped aboard the newly salvaged ship, the first
person to do so since that fateful maiden voyage.
From seabed to museum
It took nearly 30 years for the Vasa to be preserved,
restored, and displayed in a new museum. First, archaelogists and carpenters had
to identify, catalog, and assemble some 14,000 wooden fragments that ranged from
sculptures to deck planks. The museum finally opened in June, 1990. On the 10th
anniversary of the Vasamuseet in 2000, the museum's press office wrote:
Its assymetrical forms are still without
architectural equal. The interior juxtaposes hidden corners and huge open
expanss. The floor, made from pine from the far north of Sweden, has borne up
well under the millions of feet that have trodden it. The huge, soaring roof,
12000 square meters in area, is starting to acquire copper's characteristic
green patina and, more and more, the whole building is beginning to blend in
with its leafy surroundings on the island of Djurgĺrden in central Stockholm.
Work on the Vasa didn't stop after the ship went on
display. Masts and rigging were reconstructed in the early 1990s, and the upper
deck was rebuilt in 1998 and 1999. Researchers are now trying to determine the
ship's original colors to complete the next phase of the restoration.
For more information on the ship and the Vasa Museum, along with
a link to our Stockholm tourist information, see the next
Photo courtesy of Anders Franzén and the Vasa