Museum of Copenhagen in Copenhagen

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The Museum of Copenhagen (Danish: Københavns Bymuseum) is the official museum of Copenhagen documents the history of Copenhagen, Denmark, from the 12th century to the present day.

The museum is located close to the Central Station at Vesterbrogade, in a mansion from 1787 which used to house the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society, and overlooks Skydebanehaven, the former shooting range now serving as a small public park.

Outside the museum's entrance is a large scale model of medieval Copenhagen. Part of the adjacent street Absalongade serves as a museum street, featuring historic street furniture.


History of the building

The mansion in which the museum is located today is the former premises of the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society. Originally it served a purpose of training citizens as part of the defence of the city but by the 18th century its activities had become of a purely ceremonial and social nature. The society was based in the street Kompagnistræde, which was named after it, where No. 16 lies today, but since its activities were poorly compatible with a location inside the fortified city, it was granted royal permission to conduct the shooting training at a site outside Vesterport in the 1750s. In 1782 the society acquired a 3.5 hectare piece of land, stretching from present day Vesterbrogade to the beach. The same year the foundation stone was laid for the current building but due to shortage of funds construction came to a standstill several times and the mansion was not completed until 1787.

When Vesterbro started to develop in the second half of the 19th century, after the city had been allowed to develop past its now decommissioned fortifications, the Royal Shooting Society once again found itself situated in urban surroundings. Copenhagen Municipality expropriated much of the grounds and in 1887, 100 years the completion of the current museum building, a tall wall was constructed to shield the newly established street Istedgade from stray bullets from the shooting range. The wall was built to the design of architect Ludvig Knudsen in a neo-gothic style. Ludvig Knudsen also modernized the interior of the Shooting Society's mansion in the 1890s and added a small new wing towards the gardens. After World War II the Society moved to Sølyst Manor close to Klampenborg north of Copenhagen, while Copenhagen Municipality acquired the property at Vesterbro.

History of the museum

The Museum of Copenhagen was founded in 1891 and from 1925 it had a permanent exhibition in the attic of Copenhagen City Hall. As the collections grew, the attic became too small and in 1956 the museum moved to the former building of the Royal Shooting Society. The former shooting range became s public park, still known as Skydebanehaven. In 1984 the museum took over the former Maria Kruuse School in the adjacent Absalongade, now used for administration as well as the museum's archive, while part of the street was turned into a museum street featuring historic street furniture.

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