On June 30 in Odense, Denmark, Hans Christian Andersen’s House hosted its soft opening, presenting many Danes with a unique close-to-home vacation experience.
The new H.C. Andersen’s House proved to be an ambitious museum project, made possible through substantial support from the A.P. Møller Foundation and contributions from Nordea-fonden, the Augustinus Foundation, Knud Højgaards Fond, the City of Odense and Odense City Museums. Chairman of the A.P. Møller Foundation, Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla, explained, “H.C. Andersen has to be our greatest poet. He captivates children and adults alike with his magical stories, which people all over the world can see themselves in to this day. It is our hope that we, with the new museum, are approaching the core of H.C. Andersen’s universe.”
For the past many months, exhibition designers, curators, artists, craftsmen and developers have worked on the building as well as the exhibition, and H.C. Andersen’s House was finally revealed at a soft opening on June 30.
“It represents great significance and a vast amount of joy for Odense that we are opening up an attraction that will have such a great draw just in time for the start of the summer vacation period,” said Mayor of Odense, Peter Rahbek Juel. “Both because it will attract a whole lot of visitors — and we need that — but also because H.C. Andersen plays such a significant part in the shared identity of the people of Odense. With the museum, it will be possible to explore his authorship and fairytales in new ways, which will add to the sense of community in the city. This is why it is great news in every possible way that the doors will already open up by the end of June.”
When the museum opened its doors to the public, it did not entail the entire museum experience that visitors will be presented with, but rather a kind of preview, said Torben Grøngaard Jeppesen, the head of Odense City Museums.
“The COVID lockdown has, unsurprisingly, presented us with some challenges along the way,” Jeppesen stated, “and this means that there will be parts of the museum that will not be totally ready the day we open it. Add to this that, with a construction and exhibition design of this caliber, there will inevitably be some aspects of starting trouble, for instance in terms of the engineering, which has to be tested and finetuned. When we nevertheless prioritize a soft opening, followed by a gradually increased opening over the summer, it is because we wish to offer outstanding magical and artistic experiences for the many people that will be spending their summer vacation here in Denmark.”