Historical diving equipment is on display in many museums. It is almost always related to professional diving, meaning helmets and pumps and related diving dresses can be found. Along the western coast of Finland there are many small towns with a maritime museums.
The Maritime Museum of Rauma is located at Kalliomäenkatu (34) in and old maritime school. The museum financed by Raumanmeren merenkulkusäätiö celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. A pretty new museum, that is! The museum has one room with diving related artefacts. A hard hat diver asking the guest to pump some air is the most eye-catching item. Cranking the pump results in a thank you. The diving helmet is a standard model, but its chest plate mentions that the helmet has been manufactured in Tampere by metal workshop/factory T. Wikholm.
The factory has produced coffee pans of copper. The helmet could very well be the work of a coppersmith then.
The Maritime Museum of Kristiinankaupunki is well worth a visit. It is located on the upper floor of an old wooden house and it resembles a deck of a sail ship. A hard hat diver with kneepads(!) and a lamp is on display. Diver “John” does not sit quite upright but we can forgive that given his age, can’t we?
The short journey from Kristiinankaupunki to Vaasa is worth taking along small winding roads. The Maritime Museum of Vaasa can be found at the sea shore a short distance from city center. This museum displays a diving dress the user of which is known. He’s diver Erik Öhman, who moved to Vaasa while he worked for the recovery company Neptun on its ship S/S Assistance.
Raahe (founded by count Per Brahe) is only a short distance away from Vaasa. A nice little maritime museum can be found in this small town. The museum displays a world-class item, the Old gentleman of Raahe (Raahen Wanha Herra). It is an 18th century leather diving suit. The suit is entered through a hole in the front, which is then rolled watertight while the diver stands up inside the suit. Air is pumped from the surface through wooden pipes. Conservator Jouko Turunen has manufactured a replica called the Young man of Raahe (Raahen Nuori Herra). The replica has been demonstrated in Turku during Diver’s Day events.
Thus the western coast has been traversed. A man cannot make it to every corner of the land, but the journey might continue some day.