Maritime Centre Vellamo’s Fateful Svensksund exhibition focuses on the fates of individuals in a conflict between two great powers. Horses’ hooves clip-clop, coffee cups clink in the kitchen, a cat meows in an alley. Close your eyes and you can imagine being on Kotkansaari in the late 18th century, where almost 10,000 people lived in the Fortress of Svensksund. The exhibition’s sound and light effects create the authentic feel of an underwater graveyard for shipwrecks, and everyday life in the fortress. Giving a human face to a war between great powers, the exhibition reminds us that there are no winners in war.
“This is an experiential whole, the parts of which include a model of the fortress, people’s stories, sounds and lights, and interactivity,” says Marja Puukka, who is in charge of communications at Maritime Centre Vellamo.
The underwater world created at the entrance to the exhibition is so authentic that it almost makes you hold your breath. The shipwreck installation “floating” in the centre of the room features solid oak parts from ships sunk in naval battles in the late 18th-century.
A scale model at the exhibition, originally conceived of as a particular favourite among children, is enjoyed by adults as well. An information board by the scale model describes the people who inhabited the fortress, and the fates of the buildings. The scale model*s most impressive presentation is the almost complete destruction of the fortress in the Crimean War of 1855, complete with flames and smoke.
Further highlights at the exhibition include a virtual performance, Smoke on the Waves, and an interactive diving wall, in which a pike guides you on a dive into the Frigate St. Nikolai.