In the Old Library, material from the Art Library and the archives of the Nationalmuseum is exhibited. The collections contain many stories about art, the art scene and the Museum’s history and exhibitions. Graphic design and Swedish book production are also highlighted here.
“Art should be available to everyone,” said Richard Bergh, who became the director of the Nationalmuseum in 1915, and initiated a process of regenerating the Museum’s activities. The books that had been collected over the years were all moved to a separate room and made more accessible to both staff and visitors. The library room was officially opened in May 1919. In 1984, the library moved from the museum building and the room was converted for the Nationalmuseum’s archives. Now, the Old Library has been turned into an exhibition space. The original interior was added and modernised in connection with the refurbishment.
New Design in the Od Library
The designer Emma Olbers has decorated the Old Library with special attention to environmental sustainability. The century-old interior is complemented with new design, and the fixed bookshelves have new display units for small exhibitions. Inspired by old reading rooms and the typical green colour used in libraries, Olbers has created a room for rest and reflection. To make the interior more dynamic, Olbers invited the design agency Front and the designer Monica Förster to create a product each.
Quality craftsmanship and environmental concern guided the project. The furniture is made to last and to age well, and can be repaired and easily recycled.
Exhibitions in the Old Library
In rhe Old Library small exhibitions mainly based on material from the Art Library and the archives are presented. 25 January–28 August 2023: Designing an exhibition. Henrik Widenheim’s sketches and models.
The Art Library Today
The Nationalmuseum’s archives and the Art Library is now located on Skeppsholmen. The Art Library is shared by the Nationalmuseum and Moderna Museet, and is one of the largest public specialist libraries for art, photography and design in the Nordic countries.