Xarxa de desitjos is a participatory installation that aims to listen to what Mallorcans want the Museu Marítim de Mallorca to be. The installation was presented to the public at Ses Voltes in December 2018. In the three months prior to the First Sea Studies Conference, more than 200 wishes from members of general public were collected. The wishes were largely concerned with sustainability awareness and the need to protect maritime heritage.
The network summarises what, for the museum, is part of its identity: to establish a dialogue between the institution and the Mallorcan people in order to build, grow and develop together.
The Xarxa de desitjos visited different towns and villages in Mallorca in spring 2019.
In November and December 2018, we started a participatory process at Ses Voltes. We gathered together people connected to the sea and asked them what type of museum they wanted. The events were attended by people with links to the Friends of the Maritime Museum Association, heritage specialists, fishermen and neighbours. There were also people linked to participatory projects (e.g. Alzina and Agustina), journalists specializing in maritime heritage, underwater archaeologists, master boatbuilders and boat owners. The question was clear: ‘How do you envisage the museum?’ The second question was: ‘How would you like to be connected to it?
As a result of these discussions, the First Sea Studies Conference was established. All the people who were involved in the participatory processes were invited.
The conferences were an opportunity for people to meet, to create a community, to think about how we relate to the sea, to envision future scenarios and, above all, to consider what we want Mallorca’s relationship with the sea to be.
The Valldemosa is a traditional drag fishing vessel, constructed using the techniques of Mallorcan master boatbuilders. Its technical characteristics and the way in which it was built are a result of a constant evolution in construction techniques and boat usage. The Valldemossa represents a specific milestone in the evolution of the construction of this type of vessel and their operating systems. It is classified as a second-generation vessel. These were boats built at around the time when engines were becoming available. However, engines were not yet powerful enough for vessels to solely rely on them. For an intermediate period, sails provided assistance to the engines. Some of these intermediate vessels are still used for fishing. However, the Valldemossa did leave its shipyard with an engine. It was one of the first motorized boats and therefore is a key element in understanding the technical evolution of navigation.
The boat accidentally sank in 2000. It was handed over to the Ciutadella City Council who left it on a plot of municipal land.
From 2004 to 2014, various restoration projects were undertaken through the use of occupational workshops led by master boatbuilder Miquel Huguet. These workshops allowed great progress to be made in restoring the boat. Parts that were in very poor condition were removed (arguably, the most difficult decisions to take during the restoration process). As a result of work already completed, currently, more than half the boat has already been restored.
It looked as if the vessel was destined to become a wreck. However, thanks to the creation of the Museu Marítim de Mallorca it has been possible to save it. Different organisations have been involved including: the Menorcan government, the Ciutadella town council, the Ciutadella Nautical Club, the Balearic Islands Port Authority, the Mallorcan government and the Museu Marítim de Mallorca. Huge amounts of generosity have enabled a great deal of work to be completed. This has allowed the Valldemossa to be recovered and to become part of the museum's collection of boats. Menorca and Mallorca have a shared maritime heritage. This boat is a fine example of the value of inter-island co-operation in enabling heritage to be preserved.
This patrimonial asset needs to be a key element of the new master boatbuilders’ school. It must symbolise the museum building process which involves a team working together for the common maritime good. Inter-island work to preserve a shared heritage will be valued. In the near future it will be an emblematic museum piece. It will be an integral part of the educational projects about Mallorcan maritime heritage that are currently being developed.