Things have drifted ashore and come into use by handy islanders. Houses and sheds have been made from strong and durable wreck wood. Nails and bolts have been reused or sold as scrap. The wavy weather-beaten name plate from a ship called Julie Michels was donated to the Åland Maritime Museum 25 years ago, where it’s been in storage until now. According to the accession notes, it had been hanging upside down in a boathouse in Föglö “since way back”. Perhaps it drifted ashore and was found by someone who could not read.
We know nothing about Julie Michels’ tragic destiny. But what if! What if the name plate is yet a clue in the story of the mysterious champagne that was salvaged from a wreck in the waters near Föglö in the summer of 2010? A few local history researchers have speculated on connections between the name plate and the champagne wreck. Some objects in a museum’s collections remain enigmatic. Elusive clues may nudge in the background but if they can’t be confirmed, there is no story to tell. That does not render the object worthless. Nothing sparks the imagination as much as a mystery, right?