Not only does Vasa War Ship Museum in Stockholm, Sweden preserve a magnificent warship of the 17th century- Vasa, but thousands of wooden objects that were salvaged from the wreck along with the ship reveal the detail of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques, aesthetic sense and the way of life at that time.
On January 16, 1628, Vasa sank on her maiden voyage after departing from Stockholm and sailing for just 1,500 meters. Vasa was decorated with sculptures carved in oak, pine or lime, and each of these sculptures has its underlying significance. For example, the sculptures of Roman emperors, which stand along the sides of the beak head, represent the glory and the power of Swedish King Gustav II Adolf (King Gustavus Adolphus); moreover, a male figure in a crouching position under the cathead signify that Polish men was inferior to Swedish men, because Poland and Sweden were at war in the 1620s, and more.
For over 300 years, Vasa had been lying at the depth of 32 meters in polluted water, where various bacteria and fungi had attacked the wood, and the rusted bolts of the hull had diffused into the wood and water. Today, researchers, conservators and technicians are still endeavoring in preserving the ship for the future.
Norsk Skogmuseum (The Norwegian Forest Museum) is located at Elverum, Hedmark County, Norway. The museum aims to provide the knowledge of Norwegian forest culture and life related to forestry, hunting, fishing, and aquarium.
In the museum main hall on the ground floor, many aspects of the forestry, such as timber floating, hunting, forest industry in the old times and the present times, and social conditions in forestry, including living conditions, forest fare, clothes and dress, etc., are well introduced with pictures and exhibits of forest tools and machinery. On the first floor, visitors can see numerous exhibits of hunting, trapping, and fishing in Norwegian’s everyday life.
Outside the museum, there is an arboretum, a botanical garden of trees and bushes, situated in the southeast part of the museum. The outdoor exhibits consist of various devices employed in hunting and trapping, and cabins used during logging, hunting, and fishing from 17th -20th century.
Bergen is a city and municipality on the west coast of Norway. The economy of Bergen today is based on tourism, fishery, shipping, and offshore petroleum industry. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, has a series of North European wooden houses from medieval time aligned on the side of fjord. Back in Hanseatic period, Bryggen was a business district and now is preserved and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The museums in Bergen University with rich collections of the Vikings’ hut, appliances and wooden ships are also worth a visit!
On the campus of University of Bergen lies the Cultural History Collections of University Museum that exhibits wooden axes, huts, and shipbuilding tools used by the Vikings. Bergen Maritime Museum presents Norway’s history of shipping from the past to the present; its collections of shipwrecks and ship models include Viking ships, archeological ship remains, and artifacts.
Ski museum is located in the beautiful valley of Morgedal, in Telemark. In the ski museum, visitors can watch the video introduce 4,000 years of skiing history in the multimedia room. The exhibition zone presents many kinds of skis made of wood and artificial materials. There is also a ski-making workshop demonstrating process for making wooden skis.
Part of the collection in the museum is made in the museum workshop. The workshop also accepts custom orders of making wooden skis. The handmade wooden skis were once taken as winning rewards for Australia ski competition.
All the wooden skis produced from the workshop are made by two museum ski makers - Tarjei Gjelstad, and Terje Nilsen Haugen, who also have undergone a project of making the largest wooden ski in Norway. They hope this largest wooden ski in Norway will become a representative landmark of the museum.
Situated at the Northeastern side of Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d'Orient (Orient Forest Regional Natural Park), in Champagne-Ardenne, France, Ecomusée de la Forêt d’Orient (Ecomuseum in the Orient’s Forest) well preserves abundant traditional agricultural machinery from the 16th to 17th centuries.
The open-air museum is dedicated to the memory of agricultural life of the Champagne region in the old days. There are three sites of the museum: the Maison des Jours et des Champs (The “House of days and fields”) where there are several wooden houses exhibiting chisels, ploughs, old tractors, axes, and other farming machines and tools, Boutique du charron (The Cartwright’s Workshop) where the traditional wooden wheels and wheel-making machinery are displayed, and the museum park where visitors can see several wooden barns and feel not only the beauty of France farming village but the tranquility of the country life.
The Maison de l'Outil et de la Pensee Ouvriere (Tool and Trade Museum) is located in Troyes, in a Renaissance style mansion, called Hotel de Mauroy. In 1966, the city of Troyes acquired and entrusted this mansion to the Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France, an association comprising craftsmen and artisans from the Middle Ages up to now. This association has carefully renovated the mansion and has turned it into a museum.
The museum has a rich collection of over 10,000 tools that were once used for cutting, crafting, and measuring wood by craftsmen, from the 17th to 18th century. Father Paul Feller, a Jesuit priest, is the person who first started to collect these tools since 1958. The museum also displays photos telling the history of logging, sewing, building log houses, making barrels, wheels, and more. Through these tool and photo exhibitions, the museum intends to provide knowledge and arouse the interest of apprentices, craftsmen, amateurs, and many others, about the history and the tradition of craftsmanship in the old days.
Laténium Museum is an archaeology museum located in Hauterive, suburb of Neuchâtel. Its name is a combination of “La Tène”, the name of archaeological site of the Celtic civilization back in the late Iron Age, and the word “museum.”
Inaugurated in 2001, the museum has rich archaeological collections of Celtic artifacts, and those from both older and more recent periods as well. Laténium Museum has a collection of 3000 objects, including a 20-meter long Roman wooden ship discovered in Bevaix.
Apart from indoor exhibition, there is another open-air area within the museum park. The dwellings of the lake villagers could be dated back to 1,000 BC, and the museum has reconstructed several architectures in order to demonstrate the history to the visitors.
Located in the north-east of Italy, Trento is the capital of the autonomous province Trentino. Back in the 16th century, it was the location of the Council of Trent, an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church.
Stelvio National Park, near the historical city of Trento, with an area of 400,000 hectares, is the largest national park in Italy. Founded in 1935, the park is a reserve of several protected forests. A couple of traditional farm houses “maso” and log-cutting sawmills can be found in the realm of park. One of the mills has even been turned into a museum called Ruatti mill, which is open to the public for demonstrating the traditional way of utilizing water power for grinding the grains.
The foundation of Venice was constructed on vertical wooden piles, which has mostly remained intact after centuries of submersion. The piles penetrated through layers of soft sand and mud until they reached a harder clay ground. In fact, apart from the footing of the city, several buildings in Venice are also either built of wood or decorated with wood, such as Doge’s Palace in the Piazza San Marco, the well-known St Mark’s Square.
Quite a few chambers in Doge’s Palace including one of the most gorgeous rooms, the Council Chamber, are decorated with elaborated paintings and carvings on wooden ceilings. The roof of the Palace is also made of strong wooden structure; we were fortunate to be able to get up to the loft and see the structure under the guidance of a local architect.
Established in 1905, the National Coach Museum was first named Royal Coach Museum by Queen Amélia, who was aware of the cultural value of royal ceremonial carriages. The museum had only 29 vehicles in its original collection, and has started to increase its objects of collections after the establishment of Portugal Republic in 1910.
The museum is located within the Royal Riding Arena, which used to be the place for horse-training and horse-riding exhibition and games. It is housed in a building erected in 1787 and decorated with painted ceiling and tiles by several Portuguese artists.
Today, the National Coach Museum has wide collections of objects, including: coaches, berlins, carriages, chaise, cabriolets, litters, sedan chairs, and children’s cart, etc. And the exhibitions in the museum are primarily concerned with topics about the technical and artistic evolution of transportation means used by the European aristocracy dated back from 17th to 19th centuries.