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Vrak´s opening postponed

Around the world, museums have been forced to close due to the widespread corona pandemic – including the Vasa Museum, Maritime Museum, Naval Museum and Railway Museum, which are part of the National Maritime and Transport History Museums, Sweden’s state museum authority. The yet unopened museum Vrak – Museum of Wrecks is also being affected. The project has frozen all expenditures, and the museum’s opening which was scheduled for the autumn of 2020 has been postponed.

Because of the coronavirus, which has brought on a difficult financial situation caused by a lack of visitors from across the world, the museum authority faces both immediate and long-term financial difficulties. The closing of the Vasa Museum to prevent the spread of the coronavirus affects all museums run by the authority, including the Vrak – Museum of Wrecks project.

The Vasa Museum’s lost revenues mean that our budget has been nearly cut in half. At the same time, the authority has considerable fixed costs for the upkeep and maintenance of the unique Vasa ship, in addition to costs for premises and expenses for permanent staff. A comprehensive savings package has been introduced throughout the organisation, and all spending that is not mission-critical has been frozen.

“Freezing all spending, even for Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, and delaying the opening have been absolutely necessary. We are doing everything in our power, of course, to minimise the negative consequences, and we have an ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Culture, who understands our difficult situation,” says Leif Grundberg, Director General of the National Maritime and Transport History Museums.

The opening of the new museum, scheduled for autumn 2020, is now being postponed. For how long is unclear.

“We need to take things one step at a time, and we are now focusing on making the best use of the work we’ve already done. Many people have worked hard on the new museum for several years. One thing’s for sure: the huge public interest and curiosity about what is hidden beneath the surface of the sea still remains, and the new museum still has great potential despite the postponement of the opening,” says Odd Johansen, project manager at Vrak – Museum of Wrecks.