Skansen is the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden and is located on the island Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era.
The 19th century was a period of great change throughout Europe and Sweden was no exception. Its rural way of life was rapidly giving way to an industrialized society and many feared that the country's many traditional customs and occupations may be lost to history. Artur Hazelius, who had previously founded the Nordic Museum on the island of Djurgården near the centre of Stockholm, was inspired by the open-air museum founded by King Oscar II in Kristiania in 1881 when he created his open-air museum on the hill that dominates the island. Skansen became the model for other early open-air museums in Scandinavia and later ones elsewhere. The name "Skansen" has also been used as a noun to refer to other open-air museums and collections of historic structures, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, but also in the United States, e.g. Old World Wisconsin and Fairplay, Colorado.
Skansen was originally a part of the Nordic Museum, but became an independent organization in 1963. The objects in the Skansen buildings are still the property of the Nordic Museum.
After extensive travelling, Hazelius bought around 150 houses from all over the country (as well as one structure from Telemark in Norway) and had them shipped piece by piece to the museum, where they were rebuilt to provide a unique picture of traditional Sweden. Only three of the buildings in the museum are not original, and were painstakingly copied from examples he had found. All of the buildings are open to visitors and show the full range of Swedish life from the Skogaholm Manor house built in 1680, to the 16th century Älvros farmhouses.
Category: Museums - History