Naturama is the successor to Svendborg Zoological Museum which, for 70 years, was Funen’s state-approved museum of natural history. The museum told the history of the past and present animal life in Denmark. And the museum succeeded. There are not a lot of school children, on Funen, who have not visited Svendborg Zoological Museum in its 70 years of history.
But the traditional way of making exhibitions was gradually becoming obsolete. The number of visitors dropped. In 1998 the director of the museum at the time, Jacob Salvig, took charge. Like Harald Thomsen, the founder of Svendborg Zoological Museum, he had a dream. A dream of a new museum which parted with the usual way of disseminating natural history. A dream where nature, drama, staging and modern technology animated natural history. He took inspiration from two of Europe’s leading natural history museums: the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands.
A development plan was made, the economic funding fell into place and on 3 September, 2003, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe and His Royal Highness Prince Henrik laid the foundation stone for Naturama. On 18 April, 2005, a proud Jacob Salvig saw his dream come true when he opened the doors to Svendborg’s new tourist attraction and Denmark’s new modern natural history museum.
Highlights from 1935 to today
Harald Thomsen inaugurates Svendborg Zoological Museum on 2 June 1935. The museum was founded as a privately owned institution. The founder of the museum was an inveterate collector who collected, bought and traded a variety of natural history specimens. These included a number of large bird collections from the South Funen estates, including Egeskov Castle. Harald Thomsen was a trained typographer and worked for several years as an editor of Svendborg’s local newspaper.
When the museum opened, it also contained a unique terrarium in which there were live snakes, grass snakes, alligators, turtles, lizards and fish. Behind the museum there was a monkey house and in the garden areas, peacocks posed. The terrarium was torn down in favour of new exhibitions. The monkey house and peacocks also disappeared after some years as they were time-consuming and disturbed the neighbours.
A large sei whale strands near Troense on Taasinge and Harald Thomsen secures the skeleton. The whale was probably lost on its way to the waters off Greenland. Falck tried to rescue the stranded whale but each time it was pulled into deep water it returned to the shore. It was not possible to save the whale which the military eventyally had to kill. The impressive sei whale measured approx. 18 metres and weighed 20 tons.
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik lay the foundation stone for Naturama under great public attention and press coverage. In Naturama’s vestibule, visitors can see the foundation stone with the inscription "Laid on 3 September 2003 by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe and His Royal Highness Prince Henrik". The current issue of the paper Fyns Amts Avis and a new-struck twenty-kroner coin also lies in the cavity.
Naturama is inaugurated with speeches and music on 18 April. The next day Naturama officially opens to the public.
Naturama enters a cooperation agreement with Fjord&Bælt in Kerteminde. A natural cooperation between two attractions, which both disseminate the amazing stories from the animal kingdom.