Virserum’s furniture industry museum

Sound recording of the belt driven workshop at Virserum’s furniture industry museum

At Virserums möbelindustrimuseum (Virserum’s furniture industry museum) we meet the process. We can see how furniture has been produced, the wood sawn, details carved, and how it has been put together to a finished piece of furniture. It is a history of work, but also of craftsmanship and technical development. The oldest machine in the museum is a foot driven frame saw from the 18th century which could be used for sawing curved lines.

The largest part of the museum is the workshop, driven by a water wheel which is kept in motion by the Virserum river. The forces of nature were a prerequisite for production. The workshop is driven by belts running across the ceiling. We can’t just see the furniture, but also hear the humming of the belts, the clatter of the machines and feel their vibrations. We get to experience what it was like to work in this noisy environment. On a post we find out that ear protection was unusual and that a hand or finger easily “got in the way of a blade, steel or cutters”.

We also get to know the skillful hands that created the handsome oak furniture. We meet the tools that carved their many details. To begin with, this was a task performed by the farmers in the area. They could increase their income by carving furniture details for the industry. This is why craft history in this case is not curtailed by industry. On the upper floor in the exhibition, we find a piece of elm furniture made by the farmer and carpenter Jonas Magnus Jonsson in Rödamossa. We are told that this piece is “a typical example of the amazing knowledge in the area which in many cases led to industries being started”. We also find an elaborate bed canopy which the wood sculptor Theodor Karlsson made for himself.

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(Re-)learning the Archive

is a three-year long development project run by Designarkivet in Pukeberg with support from the Swedish Arts Council and Region Kalmar län (Kalmar County Council).

Christina Zetterlund
Project Manager

Maija Zetterlund
Project Coordinator  

In collaboration with

Virserums konsthall
Linnaeus University
Kalmar Konstmuseum

Designer in residence:
Evelina Mohei
Design and webb:
Mika Kastner Johnson

With support from 

Region kalmar läns logotyp
Kulturrådets logotyp