History of Gamla Linköping Open-Air Museum
Gamla Linköping Open-Air Museum was created to preserve older buildings, and in so doing the story of times past. Currently there are a hundred buildings in the neighbourhood and at Valla Farm. The majority have been moved there from the city of Linköping.
How Old Town Linköping Open-Air Museum came about
During the 1940s Linköping grew very quickly, mainly thanks to the success of Saab and the aviation industry. This meant that many old buildings in the city centre were being demolished to make room for modern construction. A local politician, Lennart Sjöberg (S), was concerned about the wave of demolitions. In the mid-1940s he brought up the idea of forming a ”Skansen for Östergötland”, modelled on the open-air museum in Stockholm. He thought that an open-air museum was the only possibility to save some of these older structures. Ebbe Jonsson, editor-in-chief at the newspaper Östgöta Correspondenten, promoted the idea among the residents of Linköping. The county custodian of antiquities, Bengt Cnattingius, provided expertise in cultural history and the design of the area, which came to be called Gamla (Old Town) Linköping.
The open-air museum is located on land subdivided from Valla Farm. Construction began in earnest in 1955. The buildings are placed on a street grid, copied from the old city centre.A third of the buildings were moved in their entirety. The remainder were taken apart and rebuilt at their new location. The majority have retained the approximate appearance they had upon moving. Major exterior changes have been made to certain buildings, for example store windows have been removed.
There are currently fifteen museum interiors in the neighbourhood and at Valla Farm. In some buildings the original interiors have been preserved. One of these is Solliden, where the working-class Andersson family lived rather comfortably. The home says a lot about social developments in Sweden during the first half of the 20th century. The interior in Carin Nilsson’s villa also remains in its original condition. This is an example of how a prosperous middle-class home might have appeared in the early 1900s.
Gamla Linköping also has a number of other museums that show how people worked and lived in the past: a police museum, bank museum, painting museum, school museum, rope-making museum, etc. At Valla Farm there are also museums that reflect life in the country and how important technical advances in various areas have made life easier for people today: an agriculture museum, wagon museum, railway museum and a museum that shows developments in heating, waste collection and electricity.