An exhibition unique to the world at the Vasa Museum
What was happening in the world in the 1600s, in Vasa’s time? In December, the exhibition “Meanwhile” opened at the Vasa Museum – an exhibition unlike any other seen in Sweden or elsewhere.
The Vasa Museum’s new exhibition hall opened to the public in December, revealing an exhibition on the world during Vasa’s time. The exhibition is unusual as it takes a global perspective of the events of the 1600s. Swedish and foreign historians have contributed the stories on which the exhibition is based.
History is recounted in many different ways, often with political overtones and often to explain a perception of our age as held by the person telling the story. Meanwhile attempts to find a new way of weaving the underlying story of the world in Vasa’s time. The exhibition does not include objects, but consists instead of historical tales which, with the help of digital display technology, visualise important contexts, persons and phenomena. In an interactive part of the exhibition, the visitors can photograph themselves and view their image side by side with persons from the 1600s. This map can also be found on the Vasa Museum website.
“We give a brief account of various historical events. These are fragments that provide an insight into a dynamic period, 1600-1650. With all the possibilities presented by modern technology, we offer the visitors an opportunity to juxtapose themselves and their country’s history with the Swedish history of Vasa,” explains Exhibition Curator Monika Frelin.
The idea that museums should recount and form credible, reliable stories is something the Vasa Museum has always held in high regard. At the same time, knowledge is changeable, shaped by the era and geographical location. In Sweden, we are used to historians from Europe and North America writing “world history”. It is a historical narrative based on the idea of the 1600s as an introduction to Europe’s global dominance in trade and politics.
“It can easily become a narrow view of world history, which we want to broaden with this exhibition. Stories from countries with different forms of government can also lead to history becoming adapted to the modern political situation. Together, these stories form a mosaic of the 1600s, an account of history that is not always comfortable, simple or streamlined,” says Museum Director Marika Hedin