Swedish Air Force Museum

Elisabeth Lagvik

Director of the Public Unit

Swedish Air Force Museum

Carl Cederströms gata 2 S-586 63 Linköping


Linkouml;ping, Sweden 
Swedish Museum of the Year 2011

A museum at the place where Swedish aviation was born

The Swedish Air Force Museum - Flygvapenmuseum - was appointed the Museum of the Year in Sweden 2011. The museum is situated about 200 km south of Stockholm in the city of Linkouml;ping with a population of 145 000 inhabitants.

The museum first opened in 1984 and was from the beginning and still is, financed by the Swedish government. After the first opening the museum has expanded twice; in 1989 and in 2010. By the reopening in 2010 the visitors met a totally different museum. Before the reopening in 2010, about 50 000 visitors came to the museum every year, in 2011 the number of visitors had increased to more than 142 000.

The museum is located in an area in Sweden where flight has been a business of importance for 100 years. Sweden''s first aviator, Carl Cederstrouml;m, flew with his airplane in Linkouml;ping already in 1911 and very soon he was employed by the Army and Navy to teach some officers in Linkouml;ping how to control an aeroplane in the air. Sweden''s first military flying school was started here at the Malmen garrison in Linkouml;ping in 1912, on the very site where the Air Force Museum stands today.

Still today Linkouml;ping is an aviation centre in Sweden, with the Swedish Helicopter Wing, the Air Force aviation school and, not at least, the Saab industries where airplanes are constructed.

Development of aviation and society
Aviation history developed very fast during the 20th century. And so did the Swedish society on purpose to develop a democratic society. The Air Force Museum offers a well-presented, interesting and stunning presentation of how the 20th century developed. Trends within Swedish military aviation are presented in the context of how society in Sweden and the surrounding world changed. The exhibition also explains how the threat from foreign powers and technological developments affected defence policy and how the lives of individual citizens changed.

The museum''s main attraction today is the wreck of one of the Air Force''s DC-3:s (TP 79001) that was shot down by Soviet fighters in 1952 over the Baltic Sea. All eigth men on board followed the airplane in the sea. Why this accident is such remarkable, from a Swedish point of view, that the Government decided to salvage the wreck and show it at a museum, is that Sweden enforced a neutral position between east and west.

In 2003 the airplane was found and salvaged in 2004. In the exhibition "Secret documents - The DC-3 that disappeared" you can see the wreck and learn about the tragic story that is considered to be the most dramatic event in Sweden during the Cold War. The exhibit was appointed Swedish Exhibit of the Year 2010.

The presentation of Sweden during the second half of the 1900s continues in the exhibition "If war breaks out - Sweden during the Cold War." The expansion of the Swedish welfare state is also explained here and many visitors experience nostalgia when they visit reconstructions of the Folkesson family home as it would have appeared in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980''s. Visitors that did not expect that they would find anything interesting at the museum often are delighted over these interiors.

The collection

The collection of artifacts was begun in the 1940s by two senior officers in the Malmen Wing in Linkouml;ping. Subsequently a large part of the Swedish Air Force Museumacute;s artifacts came to the museum through the extensive wave of closures of Swedish Air Force Wings, primarily in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today, the collection of Swedish Air Force Museum includes about 100 000 objects, ranging from exhibited, stored, lent and flying aircraft to artifacts from all matters concerned with the Air Force, such as uniforms, textile, medical and technical objects, telecommunication materials, radar equipment, cameras, weapons and much more. The museum has a unique collection of aircraft, from the age of the pioneers to today''s JAS 39 Gripen. Many unique rarities can be seen in the exhibition Swedish military aviation from 1910 to 1945. In connection with this there is also an exhibition of aviation technology, from the pioneer era till today.

The museum receives great help from the association of friends Ouml;stergouml;tlands Flyghistoriska Fouml;rening, with the restoration and care of the aircraft. The society works, amongst other things, with the restoration of the Saab 18B as well as with the completion of the S 16 Caproni. These volunteers have previously restored the S 31 Spitfire, the TP 47 Catalina and the J 21R. The restoration work partly takes place in the museumacute;s exhibition hall and is much appreciated by the visitors. The Air Force Museum also cooperates in restoration projects with Svensk Flyghistorisk Fouml;rening based in Stockholm.

Visitors can also visit the Knowledge centre with both archives and a library. Here you will find the collection of documents, photographs, films, books and periodicals. These supplement the exhibits with valuable information, and are used in research and for our exhibitions.

Learning and testing
For children - and adults! -  there is plenty of fun flight experiments to test in the Flight Lab, the museum's science centre.  For example you can test your skills as an air traffic controller, match aircraft noise with the right aircraft and pilot an aircraft in a simulator.

The youngest visitors can also spend time exploring the museum with the mascots Drakel and Viggo. Right now there is a temporary exhibit The Drakel Viggo workshop, where children can visit the mascots' workshop that is located in a fictive airplane.

Children can also join the club the Flight Watchers and thereby get access to specific events and viewings. There is also birthday parties arranged at the museum. Lots of school classes come to the museum and teachers often take their classes to the museum to give lectures there instead of in the ordinary class-room. The curatos at the museum have worked out school programmes which includes tasks that can be done before the visit, during the visit and after the visit.

Of course, there are guided tours arranged for all kinds of groups, not only for children. The conference hall is popular to use by companies for business meetings or other events. Many pre-booked groups combine a meeting at the museum with a guided tour and a dinner in the exhibit.

There is a cafeacute; and restaurant at the museum that can serve lunch and dinner, either in the restaurant's rooms or in the exhibition hall. The restaurant's name is Calle C, named after the pioneer aviator Carl Cederstrouml;m. And the museum's address is Carl Cederstrouml;ms gata, so every one who visits the museum is reminded of the aviation history in this area while coming to the museum.


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