We have just opened a new part of the Vasa Museum with activities for our younger visitors: Sail the Ship. This is a game that combines analogue and digital interaction, and encourages cooperation.
Located on floor 6
First, the anchor must be hoisted. A massive capstan takes up most of the room and the children must work together to turn it. There is a screen on the wall where the children can see the anchor slowly rising, and the station is not ready until the anchor has been hoisted all the way up.
It is windy at the sail-setting station. Literally. There can be light, moderate or strong winds, and the children have to choose the right sails. If you set too many sails in strong winds then the masts of the ship on the screen will break. But once the right combination of sails has been chosen, the station is ready.
When Vasa was built, the steering wheel had not been invented yet, so the ship was steered using a long pole called a whipstaff. The whipstaff was connected to the rudder and to steer the ship, the helmsman moved the staff to the side. In this station, there is a screen in front of the whipstaff that shows the ship along with a compass and an indication of where you need to go. It’s a bit tricky! But if you work together, it usually works out in the end.
The ship is ready to sail
Once all three stations have been completed, the ship is ready to sail and you will hear two shots fired in quick succession