This museum is actually an intact royal warship, the Vasa, which capsized in Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged in the 1950s, with other exhibits about life on the ship and the salvage and restoration processes. The ship was preserved for more than 300 years on the seabed, close to the site of the museum, by the brackish water of the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. It was one of my favorite attractions in Stockholm.
King Gustav II Adolf, who commissioned Vasa, was known as the Lion of the North, so a springing lion was chosen for the figurehead. It is 4 meters (13 feet) long and weighs 450 kilograms (900 pounds).