Every city in Scandinavia seems to have a maritime museum. Most of them follow a formula: some history of local mariners, a room of ship models, maybe a couple of videos to watch and so on. The ones that stand out have their own unique feel: Stockholm’s Vasa Museum, dedicated to the ship that sank in the Baltic Sea 400 years ago. the Fram Museum in Oslo is devoted to Arctic explorers, especially the Norwegian ones.
The Forum Marinum in Turku has its own idea of what a maritime museum should be. You want ship models? Got ’em. Rooms and rooms of them, from old sailboats to modern super-sized cruise ships, all replicated in exquisite detail. Since the museum is built next to a working shipyard, they have a selection of real ships that you can go out and crawl around on, ranging from a three masted square rigged sailing ship built in the 1800’s to a modern shore patrol boat, guns and all. Someday there will also be the barque Sigyn, which is currently under renovation.
In the basement there’s a display of ship building through the ages, from wooden ships to present day. There’s a video of the building of the Royal Caribbean Lines’ Oasis of the Seas, built right across the way in the Turku shipyards. At over 225 thousand tons, it’s over four times the displacement of the Titanic. Watching it being built is an amazing sight, worth the € 5 admission price (for seniors) all by itself.
There’s even a section for fishermen, with a room of flies and lures of all descriptions, plus what may be the only one of its kind: a room that’s three stories tall and ten feet wide, with hundreds of outboard motors mounted to the walls. The floor is covered with inboard motors. I suppose that’s one of those things where if you have to ask why, you won’t understand the answer.
Between the ships and the museum building, there’s a giant daisy lying on its side for the kids to play on if it’s sunny. As museums go, this is definitely one of a kind.