The history of the museum dates back to 1960 when the Pomeranian Museum (now the National Museum) set up an independent branch under the name “Maritime Department”. Two years later this department became a separate institution based in the famous Zuraw Crane in Gdansk. The museum then took over several barns on Olowianka Island. Apart from these and the Wielki Zuraw Crane the other divisions are the Fisheries Museum in Hel, the River Vistula Museum in Tczew and two ships, SS Soldek and Dar Pomorza. The newest addition is the Centre of Maritime Culture.
The museums’ collections relate to the history of ports, shipbuilding, shipping and trade. Among them are historic examples of the craft of shipbuilding, salvage, ship fittings, navigational equipment, propulsion systems, handguns and deck cannons, etc. There are also interesting collections of models of Slavic boats, Gdansk’s medieval ships, warships from the 16th and 17th centuries, Polish merchant and passenger ships between 1920 and 1939 and river boats and tugs built after 1945. The collection also includes examples of vessels from Oceania, Indonesia and Africa. The museum houses art collections with a maritime theme.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.