Stockholm’s Skansen-The World’s Oldest Open-Air Museum
Founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, Skansen was created as a result of Hazelius’ idea to create a miniature living Sweden. Today, the museum occupies 75 acres on island of Djurgården. Hazelius’ goal was to showcase complete environments, that is, historically accurate buildings, period costumes and natural landscapes including animals, from across the country in order to allow visitors to experience living history. The museum is created from both recreations of historic structures and farmsteads as well as functioning workshops. The Town Quarter is designed to re-create a Swedish town in the 1800’s through aspects of daily life such as the grocery store, bakery, Ironmonger’s house, post office, pottery workshop, the printer’s house and family homes. To experience how life was lived in the countryside, head northeast of the Town Quarter to the Mora Farmstead, which features a cottage from the village of Östnor that has been at the museum since its opening in the 1800’s. It is also where visitors can find the House of Pagans, which has been dated back to the 1300’s, making it one of the oldest houses at Skansen. Nearby the Mora Farmstead, close to the Midsummer maypole, there are two traditionally painted orange Dala Horses, one large and a smaller one for the kids that make for a great photo opportunity.
Two of the museum’s most popular attractions are the Zoo in the northern area of the park, where Nordic animals including the brown bear, lynx, wild boar, European bison and wolverines among many others are kept and the Glassworks studio, located in the Town Quarter, which features a viewing balcony from which visitors can watch see skilled glassblowers use traditional tools to create a myriad of objects from molten glass pulled straight from the ovens.
The property also houses several “museums within the museum” including the Museum of Tobacco and Matches and the Skansen Aquarium.