The glass museum at Växjö, with some 40,000 glass artefacts collected from 105 glassworks in Sweden that have worked between the 1580s and the present is the best starting point for any tour of the region that is known as ‘the kingdom of crystal’ on account of its many glass makers. Collecting for the museum began some 80 years ago, but some of the artefacts were carefully preserved in private collections from the 1790s. There is a permanent exhibition called ‘Six Centuries of Swedish Glass’ which shows glass of all kinds, from bottles to spectacular trophies, and demonstrates its uses in the households of all social classes. The museum has close links with the Swedish Glass Academy and with designers, and there are many examples of the best contemporary works. Exhibits also include paintings and drawings relating to glass-making and artefacts from archaeological excavations.
The Småland museum service also operates the Thor, a steamship of 1887 which takes visitors on tours of Lake Helfasjön in the summer months, starting from the centre of Växjö. The tours pass through the lock at Åby, which was also constructed in 1887.