{Denmark} Copenhagen’s Nationalmuseet

January 8, 2014

Kids in Museums, Denmark

Well, as you already know we spent our Christmas holiday in Copenhagen. I’d never been before and they have so many wonderful sounding museums there, you can imagine how hard it was to pace myself. It was a bit like a kid in a sweetie shop that’s just allowed to look in through the window. But with #MuseumBaby, the husband, and Granny Scotland onboard, it was a matter of family first. Our plan? To work our way through Mel’s “Top 5 for Families in Copenhagen” guest post from the Museum City Guide series!

National Museum Denmark

First up was the ‘Nationalmuseet’, Denmark’s National Museum, which covers the country’s history from prehistoric times, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, to modern times. There’s also a section with Near Eastern and Classical Antiquities. Depending on the age of your children, there are various things to do. I’ve already told you about the ‘Nisse University‘ workshop we attended there, for which there was a small fee of 30 DKK to cover the cost of materials.

Another option is to pick up a copy of the free trail “Exploring the Past” (available in Danish and English) at the front desk. It takes you through ‘Prehistoric Denmark’ on the ground floor and ‘Antiquities’ on the third floor, and includes things like questions to talk about, things to match up or find, or little activities like writing your name in runes or deciphering hieroglyphs. They estimate it will take you about an hour, though you can of course split it up over two or more visits, and is recommended for ages 6+. Since #MuseumBaby was a bit too young for this, we gave it a miss and headed for the ‘Toys’ exhibition on the second floor. It offers several rooms of historical toys for children to marvel over, including a whole ‘street’ of doll’s houses, which I will come back to in a later post.

Nationalmuseet Toys

However, the highlight at the Nationalmuseet for children is, without doubt, the Children’s Museum on the ground floor. It covers four main time themes, each with a variety of different periods, aspects and activities.

In the period of ‘Our Grandparents’s Time’, i.e. the first half of the 20th century (though for many children that will be their great-grandparents by now), little visitors can e.g. see what it was like to sit on an outhouse toilet, play traditional games such as hopscotch, climb aboard a sailing ship or try their hand at writing on a slate in the classroom.

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Washing

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Ship

Nationalmuseet Childrens Museum School

The section about ‘Visiting Haddas’ Grandparents’ addresses contemporary life, and the many Danish children who have grandparents living abroad in other countries. Here you can step behind the counter of grandfather’s grocery store in Pakistan, entertain your guests in grandmother’s kitchen, or climb the ramp to try out the bed on the rooftop.

NatMus Children's Museum Shop

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Shop

The Viking period offers another boat for kids to climb aboard, which proved very popular. There’s also the chance to ‘cook’ up a Viking meal or challenge each other to a wooden sword fight.

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Viking Boat

And finally, the Medieval Castle from the late 14th century lets you ‘ride’ a horse, get busy in a Medieval kitchen, or try your hand at working the pulley to construct a stone wall, among other things.

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Horse

Nationalmuseet Children's Museum Pulley

Throughout the Children’s Museum there are opportunities to dress up from the different periods, and there are also some original artefacts on display relating to the activities. However, don’t forget that there’s a whole museum with amazing artefacts out there to discover too – I’d recommend going to look at a gallery first, because once you’ve reacher the Children’s Museum your kids won’t want to leave!

We absolutely loved everything at the Nationalmuseet, and our only wish was that we could have had ten times the amount of time to explore it. It’s definitely not one you should miss.

Opening Times: Tuesdays – Sundays, closed on Mondays (check for public holiday closures)

Admission: Free admission to both the Nationalmuseet and the Children’s Museum, fees for workshops may apply

Pushchair Policy: You aren’t allowed to bring your own pushchair in to the museum, but you can park it in the cloakroom area and borrow one of the museum pushchairs instead.

Photography: Photography and video filming for private use is allowed throughout the museum, unless otherwise stated.

WiFi: Yes, free WiFi!

Food: You may bring and eat your own food in the lunch room, or in the garden when the weather is nice. The museum also has a cafe and a restaurant. Highchairs and children’s menus available.

All further details on the Nationalmuseet website.

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