The Vasa Museum, a maritime museum, is located on the island of Djurgården. The museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The museum is one of the most visited in Scandinavia, with a yearly visitor estimate of 1.5 million people coming to see the 17th-century World’s best-preserved ship.
Vasa, from the beginning of 1961 to 1983, was housed in a temporary structure called Wasavarvet (“The Vasa Shipyard”) where she was treated with polyethylene glycol. Visitors could only view the ship from two levels and from the maximum distance of only 5 m (17 ft). In 1981, the Swedish government decided that a permanent Vasa museum was to be constructed.
Marianne Jakobback and Goran Mansson were selected to design the new museum after winning a competition that involved 384 architects from all over Sweden.
The inauguration ceremony was hosted by Prince Bertil (A notable member of the Swedish Royal Family) on 2 November 1987. Vasa was towed into the flooded dry dock under the new building in December 1987, and during the summer of 1989, when visitors were allowed onto the construction site, 228,000 people visited the half-finished museum. The museum was officially opened on June 15th, 1990.
Around the ship are numerous exhibits and models portraying the construction, sinking, location, and recovery of the ship. There are also exhibits that expand on the history of Sweden in the 17th century, providing background information for why the ship was built. A movie theatre shows a film in alternating languages on the recovery of the Vasa.
The museum also features four other museum ships moored in the harbour outside: the ice breaker Sankt Erik (launched 1915), the lightvessel Finngrundet (1903), the torpedo boat Spica (1966), and the rescue boat Bernhard Ingelsson (1944).