Voyages with the Chief & Sally Jones
The latest special exhibition in Mariehamn, at the Åland Maritime Museum, is Voyages with the Chief and Sally Jones. It was opened in September by 30 fourth-graders and in the first week more than 200 school children saw the exhibition.
It is the beautiful description of shipping and seafaring life in Jacob Wegelius’ award-winning book The Legend of Sally Jones that sparked the idea and forms the basis for this exhibition.
The book's protagonist is a gorilla, Sally Jones. As an infant, she is captured by poachers and grows up among humans, far away from the wild jungle where she was born. Sally Jones is bought and sold, used and let down several times. There is a lot of tragedy in the story, but it is not only gloom. Sally Jones also gets to experience friendship and belonging, mainly through the Chief, with whom she sails across the seven seas.
The exhibition focuses on various maritime themes in the book, such as trade routes, work on board, harbour life and smuggling. In the book, one can also perceive a story of alienation and homesickness. With this exhibition, we want to stimulate thoughts about what a home really is and how to find it.
The museum has created a spectacular environment in the special exhibition gallery, including a 9 meter long ship, a sailor-town bar and a jungle. It is a tactile exhibition which is to be experienced with all senses. Its physical form appeals greatly to children, but the content is also thought-provoking for adults. In line with the museum’s policy, the exhibition is accessible to all and trilingual (Swedish, Finnish and English)
Voyages with the Chief and Sally Jones is the Åland Maritime Museum’s largest ever special exhibition and will be on display until March 2015. It is also a benchmark of the museum’s ambitions for future exhibitions and public programming.
Some views of the exhibition, including author and illustrator Jakob Wegelius with a group of visiting school children and Katarina Gäddnä and museum director Hanna Hagmark-Cooper enjoying a tea party and Jakob’s book with another group of schoolchildren.