In addition to the old skipper’s house and its interior, Fanø Museum also offers some thematic exhibitions related to the time from which the house’s interior originates (1885-1920).
The daily life of women and children
Exhibition in “the fake living room”
(an exhibition space, established in the old barn in 1941)
Shipping had changed in the latter part of the 19th century, so the man in the house could no longer be at home taking part in the heavy, labor-intensive tasks. Therefore, it was the women who had to make everything at home.
The women and the older children tended cows, gave them hay or fed them on grass, mowed out and milked. The sheep were to be moved and sheared. The garden and fields had to be cared for. It was the women who gathered manure and spread it on the meager sandy soil; they dug through the fields with a shovel, put potatoes and sowed grain. During the growing season, the potatoes had to be hopped, weeded and finally dug up. And when the grain was ripe, it was to be harvested, often with a seal. On the beach, the women dug worms for fishing.
At home, there was so much that was domestic. There was to be food on the table; slaughtered, brewed, churned, baked and boiled. And clothes and textiles were to be made; the women mapped and spun, knitted, woven, sewed and embroidered. In addition, it also had to be cleaned, and the clothes had to be washed and ironed. Not to mention the births and the children, and often there were many of them. The little ones had to be cared for and the bigger ones brought up.
The kids had to help where they could and then they had their school to look after.
Schooling began with the preschool. It was a teaching that took place at the home of the teacher who had no specific education. Here you learned to spell, read and count. After the nursery school, they moved to the common school in Nordby, Rindby or Sønderho, and in the fifth grade, those who were to have a higher school exam moved to the ‘Realskolen’ (the house in day is called Realen).
But a childhood on Fanø also provided many opportunities for play and adventure. The great nature was a glorious tumble place, and life on the harbor and the sailors’ tales set the imagination on slippery; many of the boys also became sailors.
The sailor’s collection
Exhibition in the attached barn
At the end of the 19th century, Fanø’s sailors came far and wide. The sailors brought home many exotic things that testified to the connection to a larger world. They also brought gifts in the form of ship work, which they had made themselves on board, among other things. boxes and chests. The objects shaped the interior of the homes and became part of Fanø’s cultural heritage. Among the exotic gifts were conch shells, ostrich eggs, turtles, parrots and alien botany. Also in kind like spices, coffee, tea, tobacco and drinks like rum and wine were brought home. Or jewelry, silk fabrics and porcelain. Not least the faience dogs from Staffordshire were popular in the period 1860 – 1900 as souvenirs from English ports.
Basis of the museum’s collection in the barn is a gift from Captain Hans Jensen Thomsen (1859-1945) from Sønderho, who was an avid collector.
Exhibition in front of the museum
Bathing carriage belong to the same era that the museum exhibition otherwise focuses on. They were a characteristic part of the beach life at Fanø Bad from the 1890s.
The beach at Fanø Bad was reserved for those who had paid a “fee” and had to bathe from a bathing trolley. After buying a ticket, they were directed to a bathing carriage that stood on the beach. A horse pulled the carriage out into the water and back to the beach when giving signs with a flag.
The custom of bathing from a carriage gradually ceased, and the bathing carriage disappeared completely in 1961.
When bathing tourism came to Fanø
The beginnings of bathing tourism on Fanø were laid as early as the mid-1850s when a manager and later owner of the local saltworks established a bathing and swimming house by the harbor in Nordby. The success was so great that later there was both a bathing hotel and a bathing establishment in Nordby. It was people from the area who came here.
The precondition for the later flourishing of bathing tourism was that in the mid-1870s a railway connection was established to Esbjerg, and the sailboat to Fanø was replaced by a small steam ferry that could sail from the port of Esbjerg. Then it became possible to attract guests from far and wide to the Fanø – and not as before only from the immediate area. You could bet on a wealthy clientele from big cities like Hamburg, Vienna and Copenhagen. It was those, who could at that time go on a beach holiday at the international bathing resorts.
Plans to make Fanø an international seaside resort began to emerge in the 1880s. The idea was put forward by the Danish Tourist Association and local actors, and in December 1889 they invited to subscribe for shares in the limited company A/S Fanø Nordsøbad, but it was extremely modest what came out of it. Only when financial circles in Hamburg were involved did something happen. In 1892, the prestigious Kurhotellet was ready by Fanø Bad, and then other groups and companies established a number of hotels, guest houses and boarding houses. In addition, big villas were built in the dunes around the hotels.
The establishment of A/S Fanø Nordsøbad must be considered the beginning of the tourism that has now become a crucial part of Fanø’s business life. In 1904, A/S Fanø Nordsøbad came into Danish hands and changed its name to A/S Fanø Vesterhavsbad. Now, in an abbreviated version, it has become a place name, Fanø Bad. The 1930s became a time of greatness for Fanø Bad.
The increasing number of tourists – or summer guests, as they were commonly called – meant that also in Nordby guest houses and accommodation rentals arose in several of the town’s houses. The residents moved together in a smaller space to be able to rent out parts of the home to summer guests.
Today, the old hotels at Fanø Bad are gone. The German military’s seizure of hotels and cottages during World War II left a seaside resort in disrepair, and the hotels disappeared one by one. The only thing left of the original Fanø Bad are some of the characteristic beach villas and Kellers Badehotel, originally a patisserie, established by a baker from Esbjerg, who has named the place.
The now widespread cottage buildings began in the 1930s.