Best history museums in Stockholm and why you should visit them

In Stockholm’s cultural trove lies a tapestry of history museums, each a portal into unique epochs and narratives. From the grandeur of the Swedish History Museum to the Military heritage at the Swedish Army Museum, these institutions offer varied insights into Sweden’s past.

The Nordic Museum and the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities spotlight cultural nuances, while the Nobel Prize Museum honors human achievement.

Dive into maritime legacies at the Maritime Museum, explore economic history at the Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet, or journey through diverse cultures at the Museum of Ethnography.

The poignant Swedish Holocaust Museum and the rich exhibits at the Jewish Museum of Sweden provide thought-provoking experiences. Among playful retrospectives like the Toy Museum and unconventional exhibits at the Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, these museums collectively weave a vibrant tapestry of Stockholm’s history and heritage.

This exploration unveils the myriad historical gems scattered across Stockholm’s museum landscape. If you want to explore the historic monuments and famous statues of Stockholm, or you want to read about the historical churches to visit here, we have more articles for you to read.

The Swedish History Museum

9th century Viking ship at Swedish History Museum
9th century Viking ship at Swedish History Museum

The Swedish History Museum, situated in Stockholm, covers Swedish archaeology and cultural history from the Mesolithic era to the present. Founded in 1866, it acts as a government agency preserving historical artifacts and promoting historical knowledge for public access.

The museum’s roots lie in art and historical collections amassed by Swedish monarchs from the 16th century onwards. Hosting permanent displays and annual special exhibitions, it’s part of the National Historical Museums, alongside The Royal Armouries, Economy Museum, Skokloster Castle, The Hallwyl Museum, and the Tumba Papermill Museum.

Its history intertwines with Swedish monarchs, evolving from King Gustav Vasa’s 16th-century art collection to losses during the fire at Tre Kronor castle. The museum transitioned locations several times, finally settling at Nationalmuseum after being housed in the Ridderstolpe House and the palace.

The museum’s architecture, primarily constructed between 1934 and 1939, melds modern style with historical context, resembling a fortress. Its austere façade is adorned with sculptures and reliefs, featuring a sculpture titled Näcken (The Neck) by Carl Frisendahl in the inner courtyard.

The museum’s celebrated bronze doors, “The Gates of History,” took 13 years to complete and depict Sweden’s history from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. Notable is the 1950s pilsner bottle depiction, symbolizing the workers involved in casting the doors and constructing the museum.

The museum’s interior showcases permanent and special exhibitions arranged chronologically, housing over 10 million artifacts, including the Gold Room with gold and silver objects, Viking collections, ecclesiastical art, and Middle Age textiles. Exhibitions highlight diverse topics, from global warming’s impact on cultural heritage to sexuality and gender identity in history.

The official website of the museum: https://historiska.se/

The Swedish Army Museum

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The Swedish Army Museum, situated in Östermalm, Stockholm, reopened in 2002 after a lengthy closure and was honored as the city’s top museum in 2005. It offers insights into Sweden’s military history, emphasizing its neutrality policy and the Swedish Army’s evolution.

Established in 1879 at Artillerigården, Östermalm, the museum’s site has served military functions since the 17th century, housing the artillery depot for nearly 300 years. Renamed the Army Museum in the 1930s, it underwent substantial renovations in 1943, moving to modern premises.

The exhibitions vividly portray soldier life, from living conditions to major battles, displaying soldiers’ gear, weaponry, and captured flags from Sweden’s victories in the 17th and 18th centuries. Notably, the museum hosts a mini-exhibit dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat celebrated for rescuing thousands of Jews during WWII.

With over 100,000 items used by the army, the museum’s collections span from uniform buttons to battle systems, primarily from the 20th century. It houses 5,000 trophies, particularly from the Thirty Years’ War, some dating back to the 1600s.

Alongside, it features an archive, library, storage facilities, workshops, a shop, and a restaurant. Additionally, the museum periodically presents temporary exhibitions focusing on various war-related themes.

Beneath Artillerigården lie two WWII shelters designed to protect military personnel during potential air raids on Stockholm, sometimes accessible to the public.

The Nordic Museum

The Nordic Museum, nestled on Djurgården Island in central Stockholm, stands as a testament to the rich cultural history and ethnography of the region from the early modern era onward. Founded in the late 19th century by Artur Hazelius, the museum, initially part of the Scandinavian Ethnographic Collection, transformed into the Nordic Museum in 1880.

The Nordic Museum
The Nordic Museum

Hazelius, who also established the pioneering open-air museum Skansen in 1891, focused on acquiring a vast array of artifacts ranging from furniture to attire, highlighting the peasant culture initially, eventually broadening to encompass urban and bourgeois lifestyles.

This ambitious project relied on donations and widespread support, attracting over 4,500 members for the Society for the promotion of the Nordic Museum by 1898.

The museum’s monumental building, designed by Isak Gustaf Clason, commenced in 1888, with completion achieved in 1907. This architectural marvel, influenced by Dutch-influenced Danish Renaissance styles, was conceived to house the nation’s heritage, albeit only reaching half its intended size for the 1897 Stockholm Exposition. Dominating its grand hall is an imposing sculpture of King Gustav Vasa, the Swedish founder-king.

Boasting a collection of over 1.5 million artifacts, including historical buildings like Julita farm and Tyresö Palace, the museum preserves a trove of cultural heritage. Its extensive archive and research library serve as invaluable resources, housing documents, photographs dating back to the 1840s, and a wealth of literary works spanning centuries.

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Östasiatiska museet, situated on Skeppsholmen Island in Stockholm, holds a storied legacy, founded in 1926 under the stewardship of the renowned Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson.

Initially propelled by Andersson’s groundbreaking discoveries in China, the museum has evolved into a repository of extensive cultural artifacts from Japan, Korea, India, and China.

This institution, now part of Sweden’s National Museums of World Culture since 1999, offers a comprehensive collection encompassing archaeology, classical arts, and contemporary cultural artifacts.

Despite the last comprehensive catalog’s publication dating back to 1963, the museum continues its academic pursuits, issuing the Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities and housing a substantial public research library.

Housed in the historic Tyghuset building, originally constructed as a stable for Karl XII’s dragoons in the late 17th century, the museum witnessed various architectural alterations over the centuries. Its evolution mirrored the institution’s development from its humble beginnings in the former Östermalm prison and later the Handelshögskolan to its present site on Skeppsholmen.

The museum, showcasing nearly 100,000 artifacts, stands as a testament to Far Eastern history and art, fostering scientific research, educational programs, and the presentation of diverse exhibitions.

Beyond its extensive collections, the museum utilizes a subterranean chamber, initially designed in the 1940s as a wartime refuge, repurposed for special exhibitions, including the renowned Terracotta Army showcase in 2010-2011.

The Nobel Prize Museum

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The Nobel Prize Museum, situated in Stockholm’s old town, resides within the historic Stock Exchange Building, alongside the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Library. Since its inception in 2001, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, the museum has evolved its mission, prompting a renaming to the Nobel Prize Museum in 2019 under the direction of Erika Lanner.

Dedicated to Alfred Nobel’s legacy and Nobel laureates, the museum’s permanent exhibition showcases artifacts donated by laureates, interwoven with their personal narratives. Exhibits delve into the profound contributions of figures like Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill, celebrating their groundbreaking achievements.

This vibrant institution aims to embody a reflective yet forward-looking tribute, weaving science-related exhibitions, films, theatrical presentations, and debates into its narrative. Unique displays like “Sketches of Science,” featuring laureates’ sketches of their Nobel discoveries, have traveled worldwide, from Dubai to Singapore, captivating global audiences.

The museum’s souvenir shop offers eclectic memorabilia, from Alfred Nobel-inspired dark chocolate medals to Swedish “dynamite” candy spiced with jalapeño. Collaborations with artists and a collection of educational toys, books, and exclusive items further enrich the visitor experience.

Beyond the exhibits, Bistro Nobel invites patrons to savor Nobel-inspired treats like the signature Nobel ice cream, a delicacy reserved for the prestigious Nobel banquet, alongside a delightful array of Swedish confections, lunches, and dinners.

The Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum in Stockholm stands as a repository of naval history, merchant shipping, and shipbuilding. Designed by architect Ragnar Östberg and completed in 1936, its location in Gärdet provides stunning vistas of Djurgårdsbrunnsviken bay.

Home to an impressive array of maritime artifacts, the museum boasts 900,000 photos, 50,000 objects, and 45,000 drawings showcasing the sea, coast, ships, and boats.

While much of the boat collection is on display on Rindö, an island outside Vaxholm, exhibits within the museum itself delve into naval history, housing intricate models of 18th-century ships and displays highlighting Sweden’s commercial fleets.

The building’s curved design, reminiscent of Olof Tempelman’s neoclassical style, harmonizes with the surrounding park, where annual open-air concerts take place. Originally part of the site for the Stockholm Exhibition (1930), the museum symbolizes the introduction of Functionalist style in Sweden and was the last major project of Ragnar Östberg.

Additionally, the museum grounds feature “The Sailor,” a bronze statue commemorating Swedish sailors who perished in World War II, sculpted by Nils Sjögren and unveiled in 1953. The park hosts renowned open-air concerts, including events by Dagens Nyheter, featuring artists like Oasis, Pearl Jam, and Sarah Dawn Finer, among others, echoing the spirit of London’s Royal Albert Hall Proms.

The Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet

The Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet, situated in central Stockholm, is an institution devoted to the exploration of money’s history and broader economic narratives. Serving as the guardian of Sweden’s numismatic heritage, it plays a pivotal role in conserving coins, medals, and financial artifacts.

Beyond preservation, it actively contributes to global knowledge by loaning its extensive collection for exhibitions worldwide and maintaining a national register of coin hoards, an invaluable resource for scholars.

Its portal features Elisabeth Ekstrand’s striking artwork, “Water Porphyry Game,” crafted from porphyry and marble. Inside, the museum’s exhibitions encompass a diverse array, showcasing coins, banknotes (including the world’s first issued in 1661 by Stockholms Banco), treasure hoards, and even piggy banks.

The museum’s origins trace back centuries, originating around 1572 with Rasmus Ludvigsson’s collection of ancient Swedish coins. Over time, donations from royals and scholarly contributions, notably by numismatist Rosa Norström, expanded its holdings.

The museum underwent relocations before settling in the Swedish History Museum’s building in 2019, after transitioning from various locations, including its move to Slottsbacken in Stockholm’s Old Town in 1996.

Noteworthy collections housed within the museum include the oldest Swedish coin, a substantial copper plate coin from Queen Christina’s era, parts of the Lohe treasure, Weimar Republic inflation currency, and Nobel Prize medals.

The Museum of Ethnography

The Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm boasts a diverse collection of over 220,000 items, reflecting global cultures across China, Korea, Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

Originating from the 18th century, its primary holdings, notably from 1850 to 1950, reveal colonial-era impacts through explorations and trade. Under Hjalmar Stolpe’s direction in 1900, it gained independence, moving to new premises in 1930 and then its present location in 1980.

Previously named Folkens Museum in 1988 (later reverted to Museum of Ethnography in 2001), the institution actively repatriates artifacts, exemplified by returning a totem pole to the Haisla Nation in 2007. It presently curates a digital exhibition exploring the societal roles of birds.

Since its mid-19th-century inception, the museum’s collection has expanded through acquisitions, expeditions, and donations. The move to its current location in 1980 led to a purpose-built facility, honored with the Kasper Salin Prize. Apart from curating artifacts, the museum engages in diverse activities, including record-keeping, education, research, and publication.

The museum’s physical landscape includes the Zui-Ki-Tei teahouse, built in 1990 for Japanese tea ceremonies, and a totem pole crafted in 2000 by the Haisla people. Its return in 2006, documented in “Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole,” underscores the museum’s dedication to repatriating culturally significant objects.

The Swedish Holocaust Museum

The Swedish Holocaust Museum is a state historical museum solely dedicated to commemorating and educating about the Holocaust. Its inception stemmed from a proposal by Holocaust survivor Max Safir in 2018.

The Swedish Ministry of Culture allocated funds in 2020 for the Living History Forum to establish this museum, emphasizing survivors’ stories within Sweden and honoring the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg’s memory.

The museum’s completion faced significant delays, ultimately landing in Stockholm instead of Malmö due to reported antisemitic incidents. In June 2022, the museum was officially inaugurated by the Swedish Minister of Culture, Jeanette Gustafsdotter. The museum’s first public exhibition and spaces opened on Torsgatan 19 in Stockholm in the summer of 2023.

The government mandated the State Historical Museums in 2021 to craft proposals for this museum, focusing on survivors’ narratives connected to Sweden. Additionally, the Forum for Living History was tasked with gathering artifacts and stories from survivors living in Sweden.

During its development, the museum announced its temporary location at Bonniers Konsthall’s building on Torsgatan in Stockholm for five to eight years.

The digital exhibition, “Conversations with Survivors,” featuring interactive biographies of two Holocaust survivors, launched on the museum’s website in June 2022. The museum’s first physical exhibition, “Seven Lives at Torsgatan 19,” opened on June 21, 2023, situated above Bonniers Konsthall.

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm

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The Museum of Medieval Stockholm, located north of the Royal Palace, emerged from excavated medieval remnants in the late 1970s. Director Margareta Hallerdt’s vision birthed a state-of-the-art museum designed by Kerstin Rydh, winning the European Museum of the Year Award in 1986.

Closed from 2007 to 2010 due to bridge restoration, the museum recreated its exhibits, offering a glimpse into medieval Stockholm’s life, showcasing its structures, harbor, and history from the 1250s to the 1520s. It commemorated 800 years since Birger Jarl’s birth in 2010 with an exhibition featuring his facial reconstruction.

The museum engages in themed medieval exhibitions, lectures, and educational programs targeting children and schools. Its shop sells Middle Ages-related books, postcards, and jewelry.

Its significant exhibits include the Riddarholm Ship, a medieval vessel found in Riddarholmskanalen, a segment of Stockholm’s city wall, and rune stones like Sö 274. Adjacent, preserved cellar rooms believed from the Svartbrödraklostret also stand as historical attractions.

Despite its significance, the museum faced closure in November 2023 due to the termination of its lease by the Swedish Parliament. There are discussions about relocating it to Nobel Museum’s premises or future sites in Stockholm, potentially impacting its reopening timeline.

The Stockholm City Museum

The Stockholm City Museum, nestled in Södra Stadshuset at Slussen on Södermalm, stands as a custodian of the city’s rich history. Housed in a building completed in 1685, it opened its doors to the public in 1942. Boasting the largest municipal collection in Sweden, it houses over 300,000 historical items, 20,000 works of art, and an extensive photo archive.

Under the governance of the City of Stockholm’s Cultural Affairs and Sports Division, the museum collaborates with the Museum of Medieval Stockholm and Stockholmia Förlag. It plays a pivotal role as the city’s cultural historical authority concerning urban planning and preserving the city’s visual heritage.

Its permanent exhibitions offer captivating insights. “The Stockholm Exhibition” chronicles the city’s evolution from ancient settlements to futuristic visions. The exhibition showcases the city’s landmarks, parks, and the lives that animate its streets. Another exhibition, “About Houses,” dives into architectural styles, celebrating historical significance and the importance of preservation.

Beyond these exhibits, the museum hosts smaller showcases like photography exhibitions. It also orchestrates engaging city walks, from an ABBA-themed tour traversing iconic 1970s locations to a Stieg Larsson Millennium-tour exploring sites from the novels and films.

In its courtyard stands a model of Mercury, part of the Sweden Solar System, the world’s largest solar system model. The museum’s offerings extend further with a café, a shop, and lively summer events like dance evenings, ensuring a vibrant cultural experience for all visitors.

The Toy Museum

Car toys at the Toy Museum
Car toys at the Toy Museum

The Toy Museum, initially at Mariatorget in 1980, later moved to Spårvägsmuseet in Södermalm in 2005. Now situated in Nacka at Saltsjö-Pir, it houses a diverse array of toys from several collectors, gifts, and personal items, spanning the 1800s dolls to modern-day Star Wars and superheroes.

The museum boasts an eclectic collection, featuring Barbie dolls, porcelain figures, Lego, cars, stuffed animals, Star Wars figurines, mechanical toys like model steam engines, and various games. One of its highlights is “World History in Lead Figures.” Visitors can explore the Railway Society’s model railway and enjoy children’s theater activities.

Initially overseen by engineer and politician Stig Dingertz, the museum transitioned locations several times. From 2005 to 2017, it occupied Söderdepån in Södermalm, adjacent to Stockholm’s Spårvägsmuseum. However, it closed with the Spårvägsmuseet in 2017. The Toy Museum reopened its doors in Saltsjö Pir, Fisksätra, in connection with the Historiearvsmuseet in Nacka in May 2018.

Its new location offers a fresh space to continue its legacy of showcasing the history and evolution of toys.

The Police Museum

The Police Museum in Stockholm’s Museiparken on Gärdet delves into Swedish law enforcement history. Split across two floors, it showcases five exhibitions highlighting police work through time.

The ground floor hosts “Avtryckaren,” an exhibition delving into 150 years of police photography and “Polis, polis…” designed specifically for children. Upstairs, the museum presents “Konsten att förfalska,” an exploration of forged art and the police’s work surrounding it, “VI & DOM,” focusing on hate crimes, and “Brottspår,” an exhibit on police methods and techniques.

“Polis, polis…” is a favorite among kids, offering them an interactive space to learn about the police, sit in a police car, and even a police motorcycle. “Avtryckaren” reveals the evolution of photography in crime-solving, featuring Sweden’s earliest “mugshots” and crime scene photos from significant criminal cases.

In “VI & DOM,” visitors encounter firsthand accounts of hate crime victims, gaining insight into the repercussions and learning ways to respond if subjected to or witnessing hate crimes. “Brottsspår” displays objects from notorious crimes, including Gustav III’s death mask, Peter Mangs’s bulletproof vest, and the murder weapon from Hjalmar von Sydow’s case.

Apart from the museum’s exhibitions, it oversees a collection of around 50 police vehicles from 1939 to the present, exhibited annually at open-house events and historical gatherings in Tullinge, south of Stockholm.

Since its inception in 2007, the museum amalgamated the Polishistoriska museet and Polistekniska museet. Nominated for the Museum of the Year in 2009, it manages over 10,000 items encompassing police equipment, aids, and items from various criminal investigations. Governed by the Police Authority, it continues to be a beacon of law enforcement history in Sweden.

The Royal Armoury

The Royal Armoury, or Livrustkammaren, housed in Stockholm’s Royal Palace, is Sweden’s oldest museum, established in 1628 by King Gustavus Adolphus to preserve his campaign clothes from Poland. It encompasses a vast collection detailing Swedish military history and royal heritage.

Originally, Livrustkammaren was the royal household’s repository of attire, armors, and weaponry. Its earliest existing inventory from 1548 marked the beginnings of the collection. Over time, it transitioned from a clothing repository to a historical assembly following Gustav II Adolf’s orders in 1628 to safeguard his Polish campaign attire for perpetual remembrance.

The museum’s history involves multiple relocations of its collections, from Lusthuset to Arsenalen and later between various locations like Fredrikshovs slott and Arvfurstens palats. In 1851, it merged with the Royal Wardrobe and in 1884 returned to the Royal Palace for public display until 1906. Subsequently, the collection was exhibited at the Nordiska museet.

In 1978, the museum returned to the Royal Palace and later became part of the State Historical Museums in 2017. It curates an extensive array of items tracing Sweden’s royal history from Gustav Vasa to the present, featuring royal attire from the 1600s and 1700s, weaponry, ceremonial objects, and everyday court items like toys and clothing.

Noteworthy exhibits include Gustav II Adolf’s shirts from the Battle of Lützen, Karl XII’s wig from his European ride, and Gustav III’s opera masquerade costume from 1792, among others. This exceptional collection provides a glimpse into Sweden’s regal past and its transformation over the centuries.

The Jewish Museum of Sweden

The Jewish Museum, or Judiska museet, in Stockholm is a dedicated space showcasing Jewish religion, traditions, and historical elements, particularly focusing on Judaism within Sweden.

Founded in 1987 by Viola and Aron Neuman, it initially resided in a former rug warehouse in Frihamnen. Later in 1992, it moved to Vasastan, occupying a building originally designed by Ragnar Östberg as a girls’ school.

In 2016, the museum relocated to Själagårdsgatan 19 in Gamla stan, situated within an 18th Century synagogue’s location. During renovations, hidden 19th-century murals were uncovered, offering a glimpse into historical art destroyed in other German-inspired synagogues during World War II, making these murals a significant cultural treasure.

Reopening in 2019 at its new Gamla Stan site, the museum featured an exhibition showcasing portraits of individuals who frequented the Gamla Stan synagogue.

Recognized for its contribution, the museum received the Museum of the Year prize in 1994, commended for highlighting positivity, creative resilience, and the fight against ignorance, racism, and xenophobia through art and storytelling.

Medelhavsmuseet

The Medelhavsmuseet, or the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, is situated in central Stockholm and houses a collection predominantly comprising ancient artifacts from the Mediterranean region and the Near East. Since 1999, the museum has been a part of Sweden’s National Museums of World Culture.

Established in 1954 through the amalgamation of two distinct institutions, the Egyptian Museum and the Cyprus Collection, it evolved from artifacts collected during various periods. The Egyptian Museum originated in 1928, assembling relics from the 18th to early 20th centuries.

The Cyprus Collection was a result of the Swedish Cyprus Expedition’s excavations in the late 1920s and early 1930s, boasting the most extensive collection of Cypriot finds outside Cyprus.

Noteworthy expansions include a gallery for Cypriot antiquities, sponsored by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, inaugurated in January 2009, and collections spanning Greek and Roman antiquities, Luristan bronzes, and Islamic art.

The museum has been housed in the Gustav Horn palace, located at Fredsgatan 2, Stockholm, since 1982. The palace, with origins dating back to 1648 and remnants of walls from the mid-1600s, has a rich history.

Reconstructed after a fire in 1873, it was later owned by bank chief Johan Henrik Palme and served as Stockholm’s Inteckningsbank, featuring a grand bank hall adorned with palm motifs and marble columns inspired by Palazzo Bevilacqua in Bologna. The property transitioned to government ownership in 1967 and was renovated to house the Medelhavsmuseet and the government office in 1996.

The Vasa Museum

Warship Vasa at the Vasa Museum
Warship Vasa at the Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum, located on Djurgården Island in Stockholm, houses the remarkable 17th-century warship Vasa, nearly fully preserved after sinking on her maiden voyage in 1628. Opened in 1990, it stands as Scandinavia’s most visited museum, part of the Swedish National Maritime Museums.

Initially, from 1961 to 1983, Vasa was showcased in a temporary structure called Wasavarvet, visible from limited angles. Later, a permanent museum was conceived, designed by Marianne Dahlbäck and Göran Månsson, culminating in the inauguration by Prince Bertil in November 1987.

Vasa found her place under the new building in December 1987, attracting 228,000 visitors during construction. Officially opened in 1990, the museum has welcomed over 25 million visitors, drawing 1,495,760 in 2017.

The centerpiece is Vasa herself, restored with replaced sections and winter rigging. The museum’s architecture features a copper roof symbolizing Vasa’s mast height, adorned with wooden panels painted in rich colors. Inside, visitors explore six levels around the ship, viewing exhibits recounting Vasa’s construction, sinking, recovery, and Sweden’s 17th-century history.

Additionally, the museum hosts four historic ships in the harbor outside: Sankt Erik (icebreaker, 1915), Finngrundet (lightvessel, 1903), Spica (torpedo boat, 1966), and Bernhard Ingelsson (rescue boat, 1944).

SS Orion

The SS Orion, a steam-powered ship, resides on Skeppsholmen’s western shore in Stockholm, listed as a historic vessel in Sweden. Constructed in 1929 at Helsingborgs Varfs AB shipyard, it originally served the Swedish Maritime Administration, inspecting lighthouses and aiding in buoy deployment and gas refills.

Functioning within the Trosa – Karlskrona Pilot District from 1929 to 1956, it was retired in 1979 and designated a museum ship on Skeppsholmen’s quay-berths in 1993. The ship’s service extended from inspecting pilotage sites to assisting general maritime operations.

As the oldest remaining vessel of its kind in Sweden, SS Orion transitioned from its role in maritime inspection to various duties, including transporting and towing construction materials for new lighthouses. In 1956, it was replaced by a more modern ship, serving as a reserve until 1961 before being repurposed for transportation and cruising along Norway’s coast.

After its arrival in Stockholm in 1987, the ship found a berth on Skeppsholmen, initiating restoration efforts led by the nonprofit association, Project SS Orion’s Friends.

Skansen

Skansen, established in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, stands as Sweden’s oldest open-air museum and zoo. Positioned on Djurgården Island in Stockholm, its inception aimed to preserve Sweden’s heritage pre-industrialization.

During the 19th century’s era of rapid industrialization, Hazelius, inspired by similar museums in Europe, feared the loss of Sweden’s traditional customs. He collected over 150 houses from across Sweden and rebuilt them at Skansen, providing a comprehensive view of traditional Swedish life.

Once a part of the Nordic Museum, Skansen gained independence in 1963 while maintaining its affiliation. Nearly all buildings at Skansen are originals or precise replicas, spanning from the 16th-century Älvros farmhouses to the Skogaholm Manor house constructed in 1680.

Covering 75 acres, Skansen sees over 1.3 million annual visitors. Its exhibits showcase a replica 19th-century town where craftsmen in traditional attire exhibit skills like glassblowing, baking, and shoemaking. The open-air zoo features Scandinavian wildlife such as brown bears, moose, lynxes, wolves, and reindeer.

Throughout the year, Skansen hosts various events like the Christmas market attracting thousands and summer displays of folk dancing and concerts. Adding to its charm, the Skansens Bergbana, a funicular railway since 1897, offers visitors easy access to the site’s different areas while trams on line 7 also serve Skansen.

The Vrak – Museum of Wrecks

The Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, situated in Boat hangar No 2 at Galärvarvet on Djurgården in Stockholm, is a maritime archeology museum managed by Stockholm’s Maritime Museum. Established in September 2021, it’s a collaboration between the Maritime Museum and the Marine Archeology Institute of Södertörn University, Maris.

Focusing on Baltic Sea cultural heritage, the museum highlights nearly a hundred identified ancient shipwrecks resting on the seabed. Its mission is to preserve and disseminate knowledge about these wrecks, offering insights into their historical significance.

In January 2018, the museum unveiled discoveries of two significant wrecks. One, tentatively named Koggen, showcases distinctive deck beams, rare knees, and other features suggesting a 14th or 15th-century cog. This ship type dominated Baltic trade during the Hanseatic period.

The second, known as the Iron Cargo Wreck, likely dates back to the 16th century. With its mast still standing and stocked with tools, kitchenware, and twenty barrels of iron, this wreck remains fully equipped. Instead of recovery, these wrecks in Stockholm’s southern archipelago will be showcased using dramatic 3D representations for visitors.

Future plans involve presenting numerous other shipwrecks, not only through the museum but also via various digital platforms, ensuring broader accessibility to these historical marvels.

The Hallwyl Museum

The Hallwyl Museum, or Hallwylska museet in Swedish, is housed in the historic Hallwyl House on Hamngatan in central Stockholm, facing Berzelii Park. Originally owned by Count and Countess von Hallwyl, the house was donated to the Swedish state in 1920 and became a museum in 1938.

Constructed between 1893 and 1898 by architect Isak Gustaf Clason, the Hallwyl House blended modern amenities with historical architectural elements. It opened to the public in 1938, showcasing preserved rooms from the late Victorian period.

The museum’s collection boasts approximately 50,000 objects and reflects the opulent lifestyle of Stockholm’s late 19th-century nobility. The house, donated under the condition of remaining unchanged, presents a glimpse into aristocratic life.

Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, a passionate collector, donated her extensive art collection and the entire house to the Swedish state in 1920. Part of the Royal Armoury and Skokloster Castle Foundation, the museum offers insight into early 1900s Stockholm aristocracy.

With 40 rooms spanning five floors, the museum reveals historical and luxurious interiors from the late 1800s. The Hallwylska palatset showcases grand architectural styles, precious materials, and artistic embellishments.

Wilhelmina’s collection aimed to portray the turn-of-the-century patrician home environment. Opened to the public in 1938, the house authentically depicts aristocratic life with modern comforts like central heating and electric lighting, while retaining its historic charm.

Since its 1938 opening, the museum has maintained the house unchanged, preserving its rich heritage. The comprehensive cataloging of collections, completed in 1955 and available digitally, offers insight into the museum’s legacy, continuing Countess von Hallwyl’s vision to share her former home’s splendor.

The Spårvägsmuseet (Tramway Museum)

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The Stockholms Spårvägsmuseum, nestled in Hjorthagen, Norra Djurgårdsstaden, traces Stockholm’s public transport evolution since the 1650s. Managed by the Transport Administration, it preserves sea and land transit stories from the past to the future in the Stockholm region.

Ernst Hjortzberg initiated collections around 1900, preserving tram history when horse-drawn trams graced Stockholm’s streets. Initially housed in the company’s attic on Tegnérgatan, it safeguarded Hästspårvagn no. 12, among Sweden’s earliest trams.

From 1944 to 1964, the museum opened on Tulegatan, close to the tram halls, showcasing evolving exhibits.

Closing its former Söderdepån site in 2017 due to demolition plans, the museum relocated to Hjorthagen’s Värtagasverket area, unveiling new premises in May 2022. Occupying the regeneration house, an 1897 Ferdinand Boberg-designed industrial site, it boasts 3,700 square meters of exhibition space.

Displaying around 60 vehicles across various modes of transport, including trams, local trains, and buses, the museum’s collections extend to Lidingöbanan, Roslagsbanan, and the subway, featuring an expansive archive, photo collection, and library.

Formerly on Tegelviksgatan, the museum showcased historic transport objects. Among them, the oldest preserved local transit vehicle, a horse omnibus from the 1840s, and the iconic electric tram no. 14 from 1901 stand as prominent relics in the collection.

The Stockholm County Museum

The Stockholm County Museum, or Stockholms läns museum, serves as the regional museum for Stockholm County, Sweden. Initially located at Sickla, its current headquarters are in Flemingsberg, Huddinge Municipality, fostering interest in history, especially in areas without local museums. It preserves and showcases both pre-historical and historical structures within the county.

The museum encourages exploration through “cultural paths,” connecting historical sites. With an extensive online presence featuring texts and historical images, it invites people to delve into the county’s history and heritage. Moreover, it provides guidance on preserving old buildings and advocates for traditional materials in historical structure restoration.

Focusing on Stockholm’s modern history, including its suburbs, the museum covers vast areas of the Mälaren Valley and the Stockholm Archipelago, renowned for its 700 runestones, royal mansions, palaces, well-preserved homesteads, and farmyards that define the landscape.

Established in 1983, the museum transitioned to a solely digital entity in 2018, emphasizing cultural history, heritage, and art to deepen understanding of the region’s history and present. It became part of the Region Stockholm’s cultural administration in January 2021.

The museum’s website offers immersive experiences, including digital city walks, exhibitions, and opportunities to contribute personal images through the Samtidsbild app, facilitating engagement with the county’s cultural heritage. Through constant dialogue with residents, the museum aims to be the primary knowledge hub for cultural heritage, fostering discussions on history, present, and future.

Collaborating with local heritage associations, the museum digitizes and publishes their image collections under the Collective Cultural Heritage initiative. Additionally, it collects residents’ digital images in the Samtidsbild database, preserving contemporary history.

The museum’s transition to a digital space in 2018 marked a significant shift, following its earlier physical locations in Sabbatsberg (1983-2006) and Dieselverkstaden in Sickla (2006).

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