IKEA to convert original store into company museum

Due to open next year, the museum is expected to attract 200,000 people annually to rural Älmhult, Sweden, home of the first ever IKEA store.  

May 22, 2014 |
IKEA Headquarters in lmhult, Sweden. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Global retail giant IKEA has announced that it will transform its original store, in Älmhult, Sweden, into a museum celebrating the history of the company and its hugely popular products. 

Given its cult following, especially in Europe, the retailer expects the IKEA Museum to draw some 200,000 visitors to the rural town in southern Sweden. 

The company was founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, currently one of the world's richest people, with a net worth exceeding $4 billion. Kamprad opened the original location in 1958.

IKEA's Michele Acuna, who will manage the project, said the idea for the museum became a real possibility after the Älmhult store was moved to a new site nearby. 

At 37,600 sf, the building is markedly smaller than the mammoth, bright-blue boxes that are commonplace across the globe, but it will serve as ample space for the exhibits. 

It's expected that the museum will be a beefed up version of the 8,600-sf, 20-room IKEA Through the Ages display at the company's culture center in Älmhult.

Here's the company's statement on the project:

When the old IKEA Älmhult store was replaced in November 2012 by a new store, it left a building rich with history at the heart of the IKEA world - the perfect home for the new IKEA Museum. 

This first and only IKEA Museum will be “a house of stories”; stories about people, challenges, opportunities, design, homes and home furnishing. It plans to open in 2015. The ambition of the museum is to engage all visitors and encourage them to take an active part in the IKEA story.

Here's a look at several of the IKEA Through the Ages exhibits (courtesy IKEA):

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