From the reference box # 118





#118 - 1961 Karta över Skansen (Map of Skansen). This beautifully illustrated map is one of my favourites. I bought it purely for the folk style illustrations and had no idea what or where Skansen was.

After some research I was fascinated to discover that Skansen is a living open-air museum in Djurgården, Stockholm, Sweden - the first in the wolrd in fact!

Founded by Artur Hazelius in 1891 as the outdoor annex to his Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum), Skansen was the culmination of years of collecting and saving ethographical relics. In 1872 he had realised just how quickly life in Sweden was changing and set about " collect clothing, household utensils, furniture and hand-tools from the old farming culture: everything that needed to be preserved for posterity".

"At the beginning of the 1870s, three million of Sweden’s population of just over four million people still lived in the countryside. But country life had changed. The number of independent farmers had declined and the ranks of the landless had grown. The increase in population created a growing body of tenant cottagers, servants to the gentry and indentured labourers. Land reforms that destroyed villages and re-allocated the fields transformed the way of life in the countryside as well as its buildings. Agriculture became mechanized, industrial products did away with crafts and new means of communication opened up more efficient ways of distributing goods."

"The landless classes left their homes to seek work on the railways, in the shipyards and the factories and in the sawmills of northern Sweden. Sweden developed into an urban society. Crop failures at the end of the 1860s caused more than 100 000 Swedes to emigrate to America. This wave of emigration reached a peak in the 1880s when 325 000 Swedes left for America and a further 52 000 emigrated to other countries."


It wasn't enough for Hazelius to show static exhibitions, he wanted people to experience complete environments; the everyday life and sounds of the old Swedish culture, "fully furnished houses occupied by people wearing period costume surrounded by their domestic animals in a natural landscape". 

Skansen is still a popular tourist attraction today, though I think it will look a bit different to how it did in 1961 - here's the full fold-out map from back then in all it's glory...


Unfortunately I couldn't find out who the illustrator was, there is the word Järk in the map border, but that's the only clue. If you do have any ideas as to who it might have been, please let me know.

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