Kulturren is an open-air museum in Lund, Sweden. Located in two blocks in the centre of Lund, Kulturren is the second oldest open-air museum in Sweden and the world after Skansen in Stockholm. It features historic buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and 1930s, set in gardens or on cobblestone streets. The full name of the museum is Kulturhistoriska föreningen för södra Sverige.
At the end of the 19th century Swedish society was characterized by a national romantic vision of an idyllic rural community. As more and more people migrated to cities, there was growing concern that traditions, lifestyles and crafts would be lost. As a result, there was a movement to preserve knowledge and artefacts. It was against this background that the Southern Swedish Cultural History Association (Kulturhistoriska föreningen för södra Sverige) was founded in 1882. The Kulturhistoriska museet, founded, among others, by the local historian Georg Karlin (1859-1939), opened on 21 October 1882 in Kungshuse. Karlín was a contemporary of Arthur Hazelius, who just a year earlier opened the Skansen open-air museum. Skansen became a model for other open-air museums in Northern Europe.
Originally, the association was involved in museum activities in several different locations around the Lund. The open-air museum Kulturten opened on 7 September 1892 in its present location in the heart of Lund, near the historic Lund Cathedral. This main building, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, became known as the Noble House. Both the farmhouse and the church were moved to the museum grounds. Together with the Burger House these buildings represented four manors: nobility, clergy, burgers and peasants.
When the city of Lund began building a new sewerage system in 1890, workers unexpectedly discovered a treasure trove of artefacts dating back to the Middle Ages. Cultural workers bought the artefacts and around the same time undertook organized archaeological excavations. In 1909 it was decided that all finds and remains in the town of Lund would be stored in Kulturren. The first exhibit of the museum was purchased on a summer day, 24 June 1882. This is a silver cup, used as a glass, made in Växjö in 1782 by the golden master Axel Johan Limnell. Today the museum's collection consists of about 250,000 items of cultural and historical value, 500,000 photographs and 1 million archaeological finds.
The open-air museum gradually expanded over the decades around 1900. Some of these additions reflected rural lifestyles, while others were examples of urban environments. Many buildings have been moved from different parts of southern Sweden, while others still stand in their original locations and continue to serve as typical features of the wider Lund urban landscape.
As an arts and crafts college located on museum grounds, the former Cultural Crafts School was something quite unique. The College operated from 1896 until the early 1930s and offered courses in blacksmithing, textile crafts, ceramics and furniture design. Here students learned to create new subjects based on time-tested materials.
In 1924, by buying Östarp Manor, 25 km east of Lund, Culturen was able to put up for sale a farmhouse with an enclosed courtyard typical of Scania.
In 1926 and 1929 an entire city quarter was added to the open-air museum. In 1854, the new main museum building, Vita huset, was officially opened.
There is always a fuss at Kulturten in Lund with an extensive programme of events for all ages. Culture in Lund also celebrates several festivals and traditions that attract many visitors, such as Easter, National Day, Mid-Summer, Culture Night and Ghost Night. The Christmas season in Kulturen begins with the first weekend of Advent with the big Christmas fair (Julstöket).