It's amazing, and if you go to Sweden, you'll see it too.
The Vasa was to be a mighty warship for Sweden; with 64-guns, it took three years to construct and was the pride of the Swedish navy. However, it is said that the King himself meddled with the design and changed some crucial dimensions after it had already begun construction - AND the main ship builder died during construction, so his Second-in-Command finished the ship. A "perfect storm" of potential problems, and you can "sea" where this boat was headed..straight down in it.
On it's maiden voyage in 1628, and only after twenty-minutes into it's launch, it listed and sank in front of the entire jubilant town less than a mile from port, trapping and killing 15 below deck.
It lay at the bottom of the icy and busy Stockholm shipping lanes until parts were found in the mid-1950's and a race was on to save it before it could be buried by construction debris being dumped by the then quickly growing Stockholm building boom.
After it lay at the bottom of the sea for 333 years, it took two years to raise the hull and over ten year to restore the ship through a slow drying and preservation-chemical process. It is believed to have survived so well and intact because of the absence of micro-organisms due to the cold and the heavily polluted waters from ships and the shipping industry at that time.
The ship went on display in 1961, but was continuously being restored until 1981. In 1988 it was moved to its new and permanent display, which is amazing. And to use that tired cliche one more time, the photos truly do not do it justice.
The ship is MASSIVE, really well restored, and the surrounding displays are creative, informative and well-done. The setting reminded me of the new U-505 display in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry - good use of moody lighting, different deckings for viewing from multiple heights, and side displays that really told the entire history and story well. Including the human story with the remains and recreations of some of the 15 lost crew members.
All-in-all, one of the best museum I have seen in my 50+ years. Definitely put it on your museum bucket list.
P.S. When Izzy saw the cut-away model which showed the bottom of the hull full of large boulders to help counter-balance the enormous weight of the top of the ship (which obviously wasn't enough), she said in all seriousness, "Well now I think I see what the problem was...".
P.S.S. Below is a clip of a documentary from Youtube. It is very good. There is also a link to another good one with actual footage of it being raised, but it is in Russian?!? I can't seem to find the English version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jou3Otjmlw