Gustavianum Museum

Standing directly across from the main entrance to the cathedral is Gustavianum Museum built approximately 1620. The distinctive dome-topped building belongs to the University of Uppsala and houses an anatomical theater, which was added to the roof of the building around 1663. The copper-plated cupola allows natural lighting to enter the theater.

Until the year 1766 dissections and anatomical exhibitions were carried out there on executed criminals in order to teach medical students. Gustavianum was originally built to be the main university building and was a teaching institute until everything was moved out in 1996 to make way for renovations.

Gustavianum museum

S.Pathkiller 2009, Gustavianum museum, CC

Today, in addition to the anatomical theater, which was restored in the 1950s, the building contains the University’s collections of Nordic and Egyptian antiquities, including artifacts from a Viking burial and a couple of mummies.

A remarkable source of many of the Egyptian artifacts was Sweden’s Queen Victoria (1862-1930), who collected them during her own excavations in Egypt, where she spent a great deal of time for health reasons.The entire Egyptian museum was eventually named in her honor.

One very interesting and unique object on display in the museum is the Augsburg Art Cabinet, given to King Gustav II Adolf in 1632. It is an intricately decorated cabinet that holds over one thousand objects in its many drawers and secret compartments. The museum also plays host to temporary exhibitions of all sorts. So even if you visit Gustavianum on more than one occasion, you are sure to see something you haven’t seen before.