In the past people in the north used to say, “The sea is our field”. Sea is the main reason why people appeared and still live here.
In the Russian North, the word “matitsa” means the main beam which supports the ceiling in wooden buildings, at the same time it is a keel in Pomor ships. The word “matitsa” has a common Slavic root «mat’» meaning mother, who is the basis and the prime reason of life. Trying to revive and understand what a traditional wooden boat is, we, thus, answer the question of “Who we are and why we live here”.
The international project “Matitsa”: preservation and development of northern wooden shipbuilding” is an open platform for skilled workers, amateurs and experts in wooden shipbuilding.
It is impossible to return wooden shipbuilding back to life without thorough understanding of traditional techniques which help to shape high potential designers, builders and preservation professionals, museum workers and reenactors. Professional cooperation will help to make the field more popular. The project outcome will be shaping a community aimed to show solutions to maintain, restore and research wooden shipbuilding artefacts.
Within two years there will be organized online-seminars, exhibitions, a course of public lectures “Matitsa of meaning”, expeditions, competitions, guide-tours, training sessions and International Forum as part of the project. On the website of the project we are creating space for maritime museums, shipyard museums and individual craftsmen building and reconstructing traditional boats.
Northern Maritime Museum is a project creator and a main platform for the project. In June 2020 “Matitsa” project created by the Museum won “Museum 4.0” competition conducted by Vladimir Potanin Foundation within a programme “Museum without borders”.
Partners of the project are Ministry of Culture of the Arkhangelsk region, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, Kenozerskiy National Park, Northern (Arctic) Federal University, The Foundation for the Revival of Traditional Shipbuilding and Arctic Navigation, The Pomor Shipbuilding partnership.
More than 35 organizations confirmed their participation in the project, among them are Local History Museum in Arkhangelsk, marine club Polyarniy Odissey (Petrazavodsk), Shipyard Varyag (Petrazavodsk), Museum of the World Ocean (Kaliningrad), Museum of Nomadic Culture (Moscow), Lofotr Viking Museum (Lofoten Islans, Norway), Hardanger Maritime Museum (Norheimdsun, Norway), Varanger Museum (Vardo, Norway), Sjӧhistoriska museet (Stockholm, Sweden), Maritime Centre Vellamo (Kotka, Finland), Penobscot Marine Museum (Searsport, Main, the USA).
The organizers are positive that the “Matitsa” project will contribute to the establishment of “shipyard- museums”, “ship-museums” and will also help modern craftsmen master traditional techniques and introduce them to wide audience.