Baltic Museum Resilience: Resilient museums and memory institutions for resilient societies in the Baltic Sea Region

Pilot action on economic sustainability in Sweden

06 March 2024
A pilot action being implemented in Sweden by the Västerviks Museum addresses the financial/economic sustainability of cultural institutions.
Technical details


The aim of the pilot was to study how the Västerviks Museum have found new ways of sustainable work and based on that to develop an efficient and working business model to make cultural institutions more resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the pilot the Västerviks Museum has also analysed the output titled “Financial instruments and innovative schemes for cultural heritage” produced within the Interreg Central Europe project “ForHeritage” (4H).

Beginning of work on the pilot action

The starting point for the pilot was the discovery of the 16th century ship Mars Matchless in 2011. The discovery itself and the cooperation on the exhibition helped to create a new kind of collaboration between varius entities and consequently the new business model.

Västerviks Museum became the hub for a new way of working together and a new way to finance research, explorations, and exhibitions. The collaboration was built by private entities, NGO’s, museums, and universities. In order to investigate how the cooperation between the various parties has worked, the Västerviks Museum has interviewed a number of people who have been involved in the preparation of the exhibition. They have asked them about issues that are uncertain but vital on how to construct a stable and long-term way of financing an institution:

  • How and why they all have chosen to be partners?
  • If they see it as a long-term commitment
  • How they see their main contribution and outcome?
  • If they believe it is possible to further development
  • Why has the collaboration worked as it has?

The respondents interviewed were:

  • Ingemar Lundgren, diver and project leader Ocean Discovery.
  • Johan Rönnby, professor at the Marine Archeology Research Institute (MARIS) at
    Södertörn University.
  • Ingvar Sjöblom, PhD and Senior Lecturer in War History at Swedish Defence
    University and University of Stockholm.
  • Malcolm Dixelius, Producer, Journalist and former CEO at Deep Sea Production
  • Veronica Palm, Deputy Museum Director, Archeologist Västerviks Museum, PhD
    student, Södertörn University.
  • Olof Nimhed, Museum Director Västerviks Museum
  • Tomas Björkberger, former Executive Officer, Sparbanksstiftelsen Tjustbygden.
  • Lotti Jilsmo, Executive Officer Sparbanksstiftelsen Tjustbygden

Current status of work on the pilot action

Currently a report from surveys and interviews is being developed. The report will describe how the work around Mars Matchless has been conducted from the discovery in 2011 until now. It describes how collaboration around the project grew and developed, how different projects and collaborations led to new ones.

The lessons learnt during the implementation of the pilot will also be used in the Toolbox with solutions for resilient museums in time of crises, the final version of which is under preparation.