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Sail or Sink?

"Sail or Sink?"
, created by Estonian Maritime Museum and Science Centre AHHAAis an exciting interactive exhibition for the whole family! It features 14 hands-on exhibits installed in large intermodal containers, where everyone can see, read and experiment with how the forces of nature act at sea and how they have influenced maritime history.

The guests will be able to generate waves or whirlpools, steer ships through locks, go under water, escape from a sinking ship and much more. Most exhibits have an information panel and touchscreen to display explanations about the natural phenomena and vivid stories from maritime history.

The exhibition will offer plenty of activities and discoveries to children as well as adults!

See below for information on the exhibits and rental conditions

For more about the exhibition information, please contact Mathis Bogens, or Tel +372 5663 8667

Rental information


  • The exhibition has 14 exhibits in eight intermodal containers. The measurements of a container are 6 x 2.5 x 2.5 metres.
  • The total area of the exhibition is at least 500 square metres.
  • Flexible arrangement; can be placed in different types of rooms.
  • All exhibits are interactive.
  • All exhibits are accompanied by explanatory photos and diagrams; 12 exhibits have touchscreens with questions and answers and texts about maritime history.
  • The exhibition is accompanied by an educational programme for schoolchildren of all ages.
  • Maintenance guide.
  • Photos of the exhibition are available here.


The price of the exhibition is 150 000 € per half year.

Rental information - Andres Juur,, tel. +372 

The exhibition calendar is available here.


  • A 3 person crew from AHHAA Science Centre is needed for the installation and take down of the exhibition.
  • A maximum of 7 working days is needed for the installation and take down.
  • The host institution should provide at least 3 technicians on site for the installation and take down.


Click here to see the virtual tour of the exhibition, or download the presentation here.

1. Formation of New Bodies of Water

In this big sandbox, you can design the terrain as you like: create canals, dig lakes or form hills! A special computer program projects a real topographical map on the sand. This enables to see well how the relief is related to the position and shape of bodies of water and how the real landscape is represented on geographical maps.


2. Locks

Thanks to locks, ships can navigate between different water levels, and many sea routes have become shorter and safer. The visitors can steer a ship through locks and find out how they work.


3. Propeller

Today almost all ships move by means of propellers. This exhibit enables you to study why and how propellers make ships move and how the movement depends on the position of propeller blades. You can also try to find a position of propeller blades which makes all the water move in the tank.


4. Variations of a current

The flow of water around the hull of a moving ship always depends on the hull shape. Waves generated by a moving ship will depend on the ship’s speed and the depth of water. Here, you can use models of different shapes to see what kind of traces they leave on the water and find out why ships moving in parallel close to each other are in danger of collision.


5. Waves

Waves travel through water, air and even ground. We know best about the movement of waves in water because such waves can be easily seen. By experimenting here you will find out how waves are generated, how they travel in water and how the wave height is affected by the coast shape.


6. Whirlpools

Legends and old sea maps tell us about giant whirlpools that sailors have dreaded throughout the ages. This exhibit explains where and how whirlpools form and whether they are indeed as dangerous as the legends say.


7. Bermuda Triangle

During the recent 60 years, the notoriety of the Bermuda Triangle has been fed by fiction and numerous rumours. Let us take a closer look and find out if a well-known theory about the sinking of ships is actually true: could there really be water where nothing can float?


8. Loading of a Ship

Nowadays enormous quantities of goods are transported by large cargo ships. Those big weights must be arranged properly on board the ship to be on the safe side at sea. This exhibit offers an opportunity to try out how difficult it is to properly load a ship and what can happen when a mistake has been made in the placement of cargo. In addition you can read vivid examples from maritime history.


9. Survival Drill

At sea we must always consider the risk that something goes wrong and the crew and passengers must leave the ship fast and safely. Here you can test how difficult it is to find your way and stay calm on a listing ship and learn about what you should know in order to cope in a lifeboat.


10. Diving

Although 2/3 of our planet is covered with it, water is for us a dangerous environment, where we cannot survive long without special equipment. Let us study what dangers lurk there when we dive and why a person cannot dive into infinite depths. For those who look at the tank from above, the people in the tank will seem to be under water.


11. Water Pressure

Just as there is air pressure on the ground, there is water pressure in the sea and it increases with depth. Therefore, going into deep water is dangerous and complicated. The guests can test on themselves how water pressure acts on the body and what water pressure means in great depths.


12. Underwater Robots (ROVs)

Working under water, finding a sunken ship and lifting it up to the surface are very complicated tasks, for which underwater robots or ROVs are increasingly used. In the tank, an ROV equipped with a camera can be controlled by means of levers. How easy is it to find the ship’s captain from the bottom of the sea or read the ship’s name from the hull?


13. Weights in Water

Why do objects always seem to weigh less in water? When we tug the rope, the submarine will move up. Here we learn why objects float or sink and in what kind of water a person cannot sink to the bottom.


14. Recovery of sunken objects

Sometimes just a minor mistake is all it takes to sink a ship but a lot of time, skills and money will be required for lifting a sunken ship up. Here the guests learn what kind of equipment is used for that purpose and can test it themselves: inflate air cushions and remove water from the ship by means of a bilge pump. Can you keep the ship in balance?