The idea of creating a museum around the Rackstad Colony, the group of artists who at the turn of the century (1900) settled round Lake Racken outside Arvika, had already been raised by the group’s central figure, Gustaf Fjæstad (1868-1948). But the idea first became more definite in the mid-1980s, when it was raised by, among others, radio personality Per Eric Nordquist and Rackstad Museum’s future chief Per Inge Fridlund. In 1987 the non-profit association Rackstad Museum was founded with Nordquist as the first chairman of an interim board. Through membership recruitment and sponsorship hunting, and also with artistic galas and auctions, funds began to accumulate for the new museum.
The museum’s creation dragged on, however; one reason being differences of opinion about where the museum should be located. Should it be in the town, next to Lake Racken or (where the museum finally came to be built) near Christian Eriksson’s parents’ farm Haget and Oppstuhage?
In the spring of 1988 Arvika council announced an architectural competition. Arvika-born Rune Falk from White Architects in Gothenburg won the competition. His long exhibition hall connects to the old farm house at Haget through an open glass walkway.
Rune Falk’s architecture is characterized by ”order, ease, clarity” and simultaneous clear and soft light transmission. The architect was assisted with the colour work, by the artist-brothers Olle and Jörgen Zetterquist and art teacher Irene Heine.
In 1993 Rackstad Museum was opened with due pomp and circumstance. Five years later, there was an extension with a parallel exhibition hall against a rise of trees, behind the first hall. In connection with this extension it was necessary to demolish the old cowshed (klabbelagårn) that was originally on this forest rise. The foundation stones from this building have been relaid elsewhere in the park, with the same dimensions as a memory of the old barn. The wonderful fruit garden and park surrounding the museum is an authentic setting while being reminiscent of the site’s history.
The non-profit Rackstad Museum Association still runs operations at Rackstad Museum but Arvika Council bought the property on January 1st, 2012, which means that the Association and Museum are tenants of the Council.