“Enjoy a hands-on experience of seafaring!”
Interview with Jenny Sarrazin, head of the “Windstaerke 10” Shipwreck and Fisheries Museum Cuxhaven, Germany
Dr Sarrazin, the Windstaerke 10 Shipwreck and Fisheries Museum has existed in its present form since 2013. What is your view of the museum’s development and the interest it has inspired?
Just under 50,000 people visited our museum in each of the first two years. This is a good base to build upon. We are even more pleased about the positive response we have received from our guests time and again. Last year’s visitors survey confirmed that more than 90 percent of the respondents enjoyed their visit a lot or very much. Many visitors are children for whom we have prepared special programmes.
Many of the museum’s exhibitions have a child and family centred approach. What contribution can the museum make to inspiring the younger generation to pursue fishery and shipping?
Cuxhaven’s rise owes much to the fishing industry. Despite this, fishery only plays a minor role in how Cuxhaven’s younger generation perceives themselves. I think the Windstaerke 10 Museum can make a significant contribution to reclaim this lost identity and prepare the groundwork for making seafaring occupations an interesting option for young people again.
Storms, sinking ships and maritime search and rescue are central topics in your museum. What makes Cuxhaven the place to tell the history and development of sea rescue operations?
We really have incredibly exciting topics! Stories about distress and rescue at sea are truly dramatic. What’s more, the working conditions on the old side trawlers during fishing operations on the high seas were extremely harsh.
As regards the building, our museum combines two former halls for fish packaging with a modern hall in the middle. This way our exhibition immerses visitors in an authentic space that is also highly attractive. Moreover, we are located in the heart of the port area, very close to the waterfront. Here, you can virtually come face to face with what sailing the seas was like. And you can easily imagine how rough it can be out at sea, when strong winds are blowing.
What are your plans for the museum’s future development?
We were off to a good start, but we must of course see to it that our museum remains attractive. This means we will not just offer exciting special exhibitions, but will also continue developing our permanent exhibition and bring it in line with current trends. Interactive displays are an essential part of our appeal, not just for kids. A visit to the museum should be highly enjoyable!