It is rare for parents to be very involved in their child’s chosen career. Not so for our Education Manager, Peta Knott’s Mum and Dad. They are NAS members and have attended many interesting courses, historical walks and online events over the years. Read below to hear about Peggy Knott’s recent ‘family holiday’ on NAS’s museum experience weekend to snowy Stockholm. 

Peta, Peggy and Robert Knott outside the nautical gates near the Vasa Museum.

The recent December NAS trip to the Vasa in Stockholm with Peta was amazing, quite different to the first time my husband and I viewed the Vasa as tourists on a cruise ship shore excursion. This time we were part of a working team allocated some very specific measuring tasks for the hull, which requires a totally new support system to alleviate the problems of ‘bulging’ between the current support beams. These do not align precisely with the internal strong support frames of the ship and are causing major concerns. 

Fred Hocker (Director of Research), explains the hull recording task to NAS members. Robert and Peggy to the left of the photo.

Each of the twelve NAS members on the trip were given a portion of the starboard side of the hull to draw and measure the repairs that had been made during construction. While photogrammetry and other high tech recording systems have been used extensively to record the ship’s details, they do not always accurately delineate subtle plank seams, repairs or mends. These details need to be checked by a human! 

Peggy (left) and Robert (right) record their sections of Vasa hull

I was a bit short to reach all of my allotted section but managed to measure and draw a hexagonal shape and a trapezoidal mend as well as a scarf joint. Robert, Peta’s Dad, was given the rudder section to work on because of his height. It was exciting to think we were adding knowledge to the database and encouraging to know that there will be more opportunities for NAS members on next year’s visit to measure and record the other side of the hull before the new support structure is put in place.

NAS members assemble their hand-drawn records for the Vasa hull. A physically and mentally challenging task for the morning.

2028 will be the 400th anniversary of Vasa’s launch and sinking. The museum plans for many more generations to enjoy this ship’s heritage. Obviously, the expense of displaying and maintaining such a complete piece of maritime history is enormous.

Our weekend in Stockholm also included a visit to a new kind of museum – the Vrak (wreck) Museum. Here there are few traditional displays or artefacts.

Peggy marvelling at the 3D hologram of an artefact suspended over the photogrammetry site plan printed on the carpet!

The museum uses 3D imaging (including holograms!) and interactive displays to extend an understanding to the general public of the huge array of wrecks around the Baltic Sea. Susana Vallejos, our maritime archaeologist guide, was passionate about the need to conserve wrecks in situ whilst coping with salvage and climate change.

Peta Knott and the virtual archive guide (left) and mother and daughter engrossed in an interactive virtual dive (right).

The fact that we were given snow, Christmas markets, delicious warm glogg and NAS credits made the weekend a great treat with the possibility of a return visit in winter or a summer visit including diving in a wreck park. This is a great incentive to stay connected to our daughter’s chosen and much-loved career.

The NAS team outside the Vasa Museum

Keep an eye on the Weekly Discoveries email for when the Vasa and Vrak Museum experience in 2024 opens for bookings!