Benefits of living in a school

I am staying in an old house in Björkö that is now an Arts Residence space, with studios and apartments for artists, filmmakers and writers, but which until very recently was an elementary school. (It closed in 2017). And it seems to be an old school, perhaps from the beginning of the century, although I am not sure. The nearby church was built in 1906, so I am guessing it could be from the same period, but it could have been built later — the building doesn’t look terribly old.

However, some on the books that are still on its shelves are quite old. There is an interesting encyclopedia (Nordisk Familje Bok) from 1917, and books to learn handwriting from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

There are two old pianos, or rather, a piano and a pump organ — I didn’t even know they existed, but basically they are organs that need to be pumped with air by the use of pedals. So you need to play the keyboard with your hands and keep pedalling with your feet at the same time; not an easy task. (Here there’s a video explaining a bit how they work.) There are also a few other instruments: xylophone, drums, and an old guitar.

Besides the removal of the desks and blackboards, the space does not seem to have changed much; it still looks and feels like a school, and a lot of the furniture and objects were kept. The shelves with lots of children books in Swedish were certainly kept.

I don’t know about most people, but I really like old books, especially if they are illustrated and in a foreign language.