(written by Dave)
We had a good tourist day today. We started with Skansen, a giant open air museum in Stockholm. Skansen was started in the 1870’s when a forward thinking Swed noted how people were leaving the countryside for the city. He feared that the country history would be lost so he began collecting items for a museum. He started collecting clothing, household utensils, furniture and hand-tools from the old farming culture: everything that needed to be preserved for posterity. It wasn’t long before he acquired his first building. Over time the museum got so big that it needed more land and a bigger organization to run it. In 1888 they moved to the current site on land granted by the government.
We had a great time touring the various preserved and restored buildings and chatting with the period-dressed folks onsite. We managed to find a Varmland town hall but they had no records of the Peterson or Anderson clans. I immensely enjoy piling the entire clan on the traditional Dala horse for a group photo – much to the amusement of a touring Chinese family I might add.
I had to call time on the girls twice when they got “stuck” in Skansen town stores. I’m pretty sure that everything they looked at today they actually saw already yesterday in the other souvenir shops, but that could be just me. I was not able to find a coffee shop either.
Eventually we made our way to the Vasa ship museum. This was pretty cool as well. The ship was built and launched in the 1600s but is sank on its maiden voyage. They didn’t find it again until the 1950s. It sank where there was more brackish water so it was nearly intact and free of worms. After extensive refurb, they built a museum for it and put it on display. It is 95% original which is pretty amazing for something over 350 years old. I also enjoy how an unmitigated disaster has been turned into a commercial gain for the country. There was one display that claimed it was designed by the Dutch but without question it was a Swedish ship. It sank because they made it overly top-heavy with guns and ornamentation. Looking at the ship model, I couldn’t help but think that the model had the bottom cut off for display but that was not the case. It was just a bad design, Dutch or Swedish…
We were kicked out of the Vasa museum as they were closing. The girls managed to locate another museum shop and must have missed the two announcements over the loud speakers.
I’ll stop there as you can read more about Skansen and the Vasa on the net. Plus I have too many photos and they tell a good story themselves anyway. Tomorrow we are thinking about visiting the Nobel (as in Nobel Prize) Museum. It may rain so it is a good indoor option. We can only hope that they have a museum shop – and a coffee shop as well.