History of the museum

The Kalmar county museum has its origins in the Kalmar county antiquities association, which was founded in 1871. The association established itself in Kalmar castle, which made the castle an important destination for the public and schools in the area. The collections were initially focused on prehistory and folk art, but they soon expanded to include high-status and craft collections as well.

Already in an early phase, the museum, under the direction of the National Antiquities Office, began to get involved in regional cultural heritage preservation, which included the preservation of ancient monuments, churches, medieval towns and settlements. From 1927, the museum also received government grants for this mission. After maintaining a stable staff of around five people and an annual attendance of approximately 30,000 visitors for almost 100 years, the business underwent significant expansion in the 1960s and onwards.

Important milestones

Here you can read about some of the major events in the history of Kalmar County Museum.

  • In 2020, the corona pandemic meant an extensive digital transformation so that the museum now offers both live and recorded lectures as well as the podcast Museimagasinet.
  • In 2019, Kalmar County Museum ended its operations at Eketorp Castle
  • In 2015, the business research school Grasca started
  • In 2012, the museum's new object magazine was inaugurated in the former Volvo factory.
  • In 2009, a Development Center for Cultural Environment Pedagogy was established in collaboration with the Swedish Local Government Association.
  • In 2002, the county museum took over the operation of Eketorp's castle on Öland from the National Heritage Board.
  • In 2000, the Wimmerströmska gården Foundation in Västervik was added.
  • In 1997, the museum initiated "Salvestaden" in the moat of the castle (closed in 2007).
  • In 1995, Kalmar municipality took over the operations at Kalmar Castle.
  • In 1984, Jenny Nyström's and Curt Stoopendahl's foundation was added.
  • In 1987, the museum got new long-awaited exhibition and office premises in the former Ångkvarnen on Kvarnholmen in Kalmar.
  • In 1981, a strategic decision was made to take responsibility for the marine archeological investigations at the royal ship Kronan.
  • In 1977, the museum was transformed into a foundation with Kalmar County's local history association, Region Kalmar and Kalmar municipality as principals.

The history of the county museum building

Kalmar Steam Mill's history begins in 1847 when four entrepreneurs from Kalmar founded a steam mill in an older building in the neighborhood. Later, the empire builder Johan Jeansson took over the business and expanded it by including new buildings throughout the block. By the time of his death in 1896, Kalmar Ångkvarn had become Scandinavia's largest privately owned mill. His son, John, continued the expansion. In 1898, he built Sweden's first rice mill and imported rice from Burma. Among the many products can be mentioned the wheat flour Kalmar vapen, Victoria walsmjöl, Kalmar rye sift, Kalmar household rice and Svea oatmeal. The heyday lasted until the early 1950s when changing eating habits and increased competition led to the closure in 1957.

The current county museum building was built in 1932 in five floors as a granary for Kalmar Ångkvarn. City architect J. Fred Olson designed the building in 1930-1931 with crenellations and all. When a fire in 1935 destroyed the original mill in the oldest part of the block in the northwest, the mill machinery was moved here instead and the one-story house was built, giving it the appearance it has today. The former mill building was instead used as a warehouse.

After the closure of the mill, the building fell into disrepair until Kalmar municipality took over ownership in 1981. Then the municipality acquired both mill quarters. Later, parts of the buildings were sold to two construction companies. The buildings were renovated and converted into Kalmarsalen (the silo), county museum (the mill building) and social administration (the mill). The social administration later moved to Malmen and the county administrative board moved in instead.

The move in took place in the late 1980s. Together with the county council, Kalmar municipality financed a refurbishment and reconstruction of the former mill building for the county museum, which opened in its new premises in June 1987.


Museum directors through the ages

Here are Kalmar County Museum's managers through the ages.

  • File. kand. Örjan Molander, museum director 2010 - current
  • File. kand. Maria Malmlöf, museum director 1998-2010
  • File. kand. (later Ph.D.) Dag Widholm, museum director 1984-1997
  • File. lic. KG Pettersson, museum director 1973-1983
  • Lecturer Dagmar Selling, museum director 1963-1972
  • File. dr. Manne Hofrén, museum director 1924-1962
  • Lecturer Ernst Hilldorf, museum director 1914-1929
  • File. dr. Fabian Julius Baehrendtz, museum director 1884-1919
  • Lecturer Herman Horn, museum director 1878-1884
  • Johan Anders Södermark, museum director 1872-1881