The Museum's history

Drawing of The County Museum's facade

 

The County Museum arrives in Maribo
In 1879, grocer Lauritz Schrøder donated his collection of antiquities and antiques to Maribo Municipality. Through this action, the concept of the museum in Maribo became a reality. At first, the collection was exhibited at the Town Hall, and it was called 'the Mariebo Antiquities Collection'.
The exhibition opened with some 400 objects during the summer of 1880, but more items were soon added, as the people of the island started donating gifts for the collection.

 

The collection remained at the Town Hall until 1890, but even in the early 1880s, discussions started about the possibility of erecting a building particularly for the newly acquired objects. At the end of 1893, the museum plans were put into action, and in December that year, the board of the Mariebo Antiquities Collection contacted the director of the Museum of Northern Antiquities, chamberlain J. J. A. Worsaae. The board requested his recommendation, as they wanted to form an association for the Lolland-Falster County, which would protect and safeguard antiquities and other objects of scientific significance in the county, and make sure that they did not disappear or were bought. Worsaae had visited the collection earlier that year and did not hesitate to give the board his recommendation. Based on this, a committee was set up, which shortly after its foundation in early 1884 sent out an "invitation for the establishment of a museum for Lolland-Falster County". This was a direct encouragement to the locals to sign up for an annual contribution or donate an amount of their own choosing for the construction of a museum building in Maribo.

 

After the invitation was sent out, events quickly took off. The donations and annual contributions kept rolling in, and in the spring of 1885, the total contribution was so substantial that the committee dared acquire a plot of land by the railway in Maribo for the desired museum. Although everything looked promising at this stage, serious problems suddenly emerged. Shortly before Christmas 1886, the Danish Parliament's Finance Committee issued a statement saying that Maribo was not the optimum place for a county museum. In their view, Nykøbing F. would be a more appropriate choice. The committee retaliated and quickly managed to convince the Finance Committee, and the planning for the museum went ahead. Many different architects were considered, but in the end, professor Ove Petersen was selected. He was the architect of the Royal Danish Theatre and in addition, he had been in charge of the reconstruction of the main building of Orebygård manor, and at the time, he was working on the new town hall in Sakskøbing.

 

The first foundation stone for the museum was laid on 10 January 1889, and in the spring of the following year, the building was ready for occupation. However, a few decorative figures were still missing; some of these were added subsequently, but others never materialised. The inauguration of Lolland-Falster County Museum took place on Wednesday 29 October 1890, and the opening was described in several national newspapers with commendation.