The town of Frederiksværk has recently established a new museum, The Frederiks Værk Museum of Industry (Industrimuseet Frederiks Værk). It started in October 2004 and began planning new exhibitions, developing an open-air museum and creating a wide range of activities.
Already in the 1920’s the idea of creating some sort of museum in Frederiksværk was brought forward and in 1935 the old military depot building, Arsenalet, was opened as the town museum. Later on another old building was added to the museum. In 1965 the then army’s Powder Works, based on gunpowder works from 1758, was closed and the older parts on both sides of the canal were made into a working museum of powder production. Because of the danger of powder production, the works consisted of many small buildings spread over a large area surrounded by banks of earth to protect the other workers from the blast, which would eventually occur.
The powder works was no longer producing gunpowder, but its machinery was in working order and partly powered by a Poncelet water wheel from the 1850s. The Powder Works Museum is probably the best preserved gunpowder works with intact machinery from the 1800’s anywhere in the world.
Despite of these many museum units, the museum with the name of Museum of the Frederiksværk Area never really dealt with the history of this unique industrial society. Efforts were focused on the archaeological field, and though important, this was hardly the best thing to do in an area like Frederiksværk. The former museum also ran a museum farm outside the town.
Following a time of crises the museum came under close scrutiny from the National Danish Culture Agency, and the museum’s prime supporter, the county of Frederiksværk expressed the need for a change of focus. In 2003 the museum went bankrupt, and the staff was dismissed. A group experts on industrial history and the history of technology then outlined a new vision for an industrial museum, and new foundations were laid down describing the scope of work for the new museum. In August 2004, state recognition (followed by important annual state founding) was achieved, and The Frederiks Værk Museum of Industry was ready to be launched.
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