Museums Corner | Small, quirky and personal

January 20th, 2012

This article is more than 12 years old.

A good museum experience can impact on an adventurous visitor in a number of different ways. They can inspire, educate and offer unforgettable experiences. However, museums come in many different shapes and sizes, which can be quite overwhelming for the museum wanderer who wants to be able to penetrate what they perceive, and enjoy a quiet toasty-warm morning or afternoon without being forced to spend time with endless crowds and getting lost in the maze of some of the big-scaled museums.

With that in mind, join us this week as we sample the smaller museum experience. Whether it’s a writer’s home transformed into a carefully preserved homage, a unique art collection in an old, underground water cistern, an architectural space exhibiting the story of Jewish life in Denmark, or a beautiful building devoted to a quite macabre and blood-curdling past – that of the everlasting struggle between the forces of justice and the bone-chilling criminals lurking in the shadows – smaller museums can be just as looming as the shadows of the major museum.

Bakkehusmuseet | In a humble yellow building on leafy Rahbeks Allé, in the quaint centre of downtown Frederiksberg, sits the small but magical Bakkehus Museum of literary and cultural history. The museum is installed in the apartment in which one of the greatest Danish Golden Age couples, Kamma and Knyd Lyne Rahbek, lived from 1802 until their deaths in 1829 and 1830 respectively. Their home was also the home of many of the age’s great authors, artists and scientists of the Golden Age – HC Andersen was, in his youth, a regular guest. The tiny museum is like travelling back in time; the atmosphere in the home has a unique feel of a perfect union between environment and authenticity. The museum has been meticulously restored and preserved, with original furniture, antiquated books and paintings and assortments of ornaments – all of which contribute to the authentic feel and foster your creative side. Rahbæks Allé 23, 1801 Frederiksberg, Open Tue-Sun 11:00-16:00

Cisternerne – Museum of Modern Art | While strolling in the lovely baroque garden, Søndermarken, you might think that the two entrance portals of Cisternerne – which are designed by Max Seidenfaden – are a scultptural part of Søndermarken, but they actually lead you deep underground to the grotto-like water cisterns of olden times. These have been rebuilt into a permanent museum of modern glass art complete with the stalactites formed by the changing water levels. To delve into the beautiful surroundings, and soak in the atmosphere and history of the water cisterns (which were constructed between 1856 and 1859 and served their original purpose until 1981) while you admire the stained glass art works, is an art experience out of the ordinary. Søndermarken, 2000 Frederiksberg, Open Thu-Fri 14:00-18:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-17:00

The Police Museum | The old, intimidating police station building from 1884, which now houses the Police Museum, might be in the heart of Nørrebro, but before 1852, it was in the countryside. But when the city decided to abandon the demarcation line, a building boom took place in Nørrebro, which soon became the home of thousands of new workers who came to seek their fortune in the city by legal and illegal means. While the historical tales are stirring, the surroundings alone are enough to transport travellers to another era. There, in the antiquated rooms, you can experience the forces of justice of old and their doings and undoings. Floor-to-ceiling stacks of criminal photographs, artefacts and murder weapons reveal tales of pure malice, vivid despair, toe-curling shame and deep sorrow, as you learn more about the dark characters left out of the history books but nonetheless visible here. If you are feeling goose bumps and imagining cold air blowing down your neck by the end of your visit, you might want to enjoy a cup of a tea in one of the cafés in the neighbouring and sunny Skt Hans Torv. Fælledvej 20, 2200 Cph N, Open Tue, Thu and Sun 11:00-16:00.

The Danish Jewish Museum | When strolling along the canals of Copenhagen, you might encounter an old building in the backyard of the Royal Library (the Black Diamond), which houses the first minority museum in Denmark: the Danish Jewish Museum. It might seem quite discreet with its red bricks and baroque-inspired design, but prepare for a surprise: there is actually a building inside a building inside a building. Confused? It might be the underlying and deliberate purpose, the phenomenal architect, Daniel Liebeskind, had in mind, when he designed the interior in an expressionistic style reminiscent of the cubism of Picasso. The visitor steps into an exhibition made up of an enigmatic and expressive landscape: the form, structure and lighting are an experience for the senses and reflect the many facets and experiences of being Jewish in Denmark from the 15th century up until today; the struggle to live by the Hebrew word, Mitzvah, in times of religious dispute, exile, affluence, poverty and last, but not least, war and the holocaust. The holistic museum experience of the Danish Jewish Museum is best expressed in the words of Liebeskind: “The museum will become a destination that will reveal the deep tradition and its future in the unprecedented space of Mitzvah. The intertwining of the old structure of the vaulted brick space of the Royal Library and the unexpected connection to the unique exhibition space creates a dynamic dialogue between architecture of the past and future – the newness of the old and the agelessness of the new.” Proviantpassagen 6, 1218 Cph K, Open Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00

Find out more at http://www.cphmuseums.com/.


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