If you go on board the Pommern, you don’t find just an ordinary museum exhibition. What awaits you is an exceptional, profoundly affecting experience.

New York has its Statue of Liberty, Florence has its statue of David and Paris has its Eiffel Tower. Mariehamn has the museum ship Pommern. The four-masted barque was built in Scotland in 1903 and was purchased by the Ålander shipowner Gustaf Erikson. Twenty years later, in the 1950s, she became a museum ship. By then she had spent a long time sailing around the world, primarily to Australia to load wheat for sale in Europe.

 

New visitor experience

Hundreds of thousands of people, both Ålanders and tourists, have visited the Pommern over the years and learned about Åland’s maritime history. Now a new visitor experience has been created: an original concept called Pommern – 100 days under sail.

“It started with a dream about bringing the Pommern and her crew back to life, a dream of the Pommern sailing the seven seas once more,” says Hanna Hagmark, museum director at Åland’s Maritime Museum.

Voyage around the world

The new exhibition brings the dream to life. Visitors are taken back to the 1930s where they get to go on a fictional voyage around the world, get right up close to the crew and experience life on board.

The Pommern’s three decks each give a different perspective on the voyage from Mariehamn to Port Victoria in southern Australia. Sound creates atmosphere and brings the surroundings to life, and a modern audio guide enables visitors to eavesdrop on conversations between members of the crew. Visitors to the eight activity stations on the middle deck can take part in both work and leisure on board, and in the cargo room they can see the challenges the crew faced from winds and sea.

“When you link the experiences on the different decks, you get a deeper understanding of the history,” says Hanna Hagmark.

She gives the example of the multifaceted description of a powerful storm that hit the Pommern off Cape Horn. On the weather deck, visitors hear members of the crew grieving for a fellow sailor who has fallen overboard; on the middle deck they can help repair storm-damaged sails; and on the cargo deck an audiovisual performance enables them to experience the storm.

“It really is something else, an experience that profoundly affects people, something you don’t usually get in museums”, says Hagmark.  

New dock, new opportunities

The Pommern is still anchored alongside the quay in Mariehamn’s western harbour, but from the spring of 2019 she will be doing so in a newly built dock. The dock will only be emptied for inspections and when maintenance work needs to be done on the hull, and then visitors will be given the opportunity, as far as is possible, to go down into it to admire the Pommern from a different perspective.

The new dock also improves accessibility. A gangway was set up between the Pommern and the Maritime Museum, which makes it straightforward for everyone to get on board. New steps and a lift on board also make it easier to get from the weather deck down to the cargo room via the middle deck. The areas that are still difficult for disabled people to get to are made accessible by means of films and narrative on tablets.

 

An unforgettable journey

You can buy tickets for the Pommern in Åland’s Maritime Museum or via Visit Åland’s online booking. The entry fee also includes a visit to Åland’s Maritime Museum.

A Pommern host welcomes visitors on board and hands out audio guides, and they then get to go on an exciting voyage across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, via Copenhagen and Cape Horn, both when it’s calm and when it’s stormy. It’s an unforgettable voyage.

 

Take a look at Pommern’s voyage 27 March 2019 across the sea bay Svibyviken to her new dock located nearby the Åland Maritime Museum.

 

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