The House of Wonders - a Remarkable Story about the History of the Museum
Adolf Andersohn, the successful merchant, donor and founder of the museum and Axel Eriksson, the zoologist and elephant hunter welcome you to their creation - Vänersborg Museum.
From Butcher Son to Zoologist
The local citizen, Axel Eriksson, grew up as the son of a butcher but chose a different path in life and became a successful merchant in the South West of Africa (Namibia) 1860 onwards. Despite his thriving business activities he was drawn to zoology, with a special interest in ornithology leading him to pursue a career in this field. This resulted in an extensive collection of birds and mammals, which he donated to the museum.
From Errand Boy to Successful Merchant
Adolf Andersohn started as an errand boy and worked his way up to become a successful merchant and respected citizen of Vänersborg. He specialized in trading in oats in England and made himself a fortune that granted him economic independene. He made a name for himself in Vänersborg by donating money in support of the less privileged, contributing financially to the educational institutions and also improving the aesthetic appearance of the town. His genuine interest in art, foreign cultures, curiosities was combined with a passion for collecting that resulted in the founding of the museum. In fact, his final donation to Vänersborg was the museum building, which he filled with his own collections as well as Axel Eriksson´s great collection bird and animals.
House of Wonders
The exhibition examines the national romantic perspective of history and let visitors think themselves into the ideas, world views and values common during the 19th century, which shaped and contributed to Adolf Andersohn’s vision of establishing a museum. The exhibition also looks at the science of natural history on which Axel Eriksson based his knowledge. It starts by examining the works of Carl Von Linné and Charles Darwin, and continues with 19th-century Swedish explorers whose works were contemporary to Axel Eriksson’s.