It is as much the building and its history as it is the exhibitions, that make Helsingør Bymuseum quite remarkable. The building, which is nearly 500 years old, has had a plethora of functions through time, and across different social classes.
Hospital, commons house, horse mill, vassal quarters, Latin school, poor house, library. Those are some of the functions the current city museum has had, since Christian 2. in 1516 gave the Carmelites permission to build a hospital for sailors. In 1630 the city took over the building, which was turned from a noble residence into a poor house. It maintained this function untill the end of the 1800s, where the buildings were so run-down, that the house – also due to its function as a poor house – were known as ”Skændslens hus” (The house of shame).
Therefore there was some discussion about tearing down the house, but cultural historical awareness put an end to the discussion. The house was instead restored, and in 1911 Elsinore’s Historical Museum and folk library moved in. The library was part of the building until 1973.
One of the museums most eye-catching exhibitions is the miniature model of the city as it looked in 1801. 75 percent of the houses from back then can still be found today, if one takes a walk around the city.