Torben Grøngaard Jeppesen, Museum Director
Born 1952 in Odense. School leaving certificate 1971, started to study at Aarhus University in September 1971.
MA degree in History and Nordic Archaeology from the universities of Aarhus, Copenhagen and Odense in January 1977.
From February 1977-1982 worked as research assistant at the Funen Art Museum, with responsibility for archaeological excavations and leader of the research project ‘The emergence and development of the village’. Also external lecturer at Odense University in 1980-81.
Matriculated in February 1977 as PhD student at Odense University, to research on the project ‘The emergence and development of the village’, together with PhD student Erland Porsmose. The project, which lasted from 1977 to 1980, was financed by a several-year grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, Odense University Research Fund, the Municipality of Odense, among others.
Three-month research stay in 1980 at Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel. Travel and stay paid for by a special grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities.
Gained a PhD degree in 1981 at Odense University. Title of thesis: ‘The emergence of the medieval village. Continuity and breaks in Funen agrarian settlements between the late-Iron Age and the early-medieval period’.
Appointed head museum curator at the open-air museum The Funen Village. During this period, the ‘Funen Farms 1850-1925’ was realized. It comprised both a detailed investigation of archives as well as field studies of more than 1000 farmsteads. The project was implemented in 1985-1989 and was financed by the Carlsberg Foundation. Results of the project have been published in articles and reports, also by a number of the other historians linked to the project.
From 1989, head of Odense City Museums. Apart from the duties of this post, TGJ has carried out a number of investigatory and elucidatory assignments for the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, including proposals for a new act on cultural heritage and museums (1995), a presentation for future historical centers (2000) and a description of the digital cultural institution of the future (2001).
Since 1996, research on Danish emigration to the United States. Six month’s leave of absence in 1999 so as to complete the book ‘Dannebrog on the American prairie’. A two-month study of archives in America during this period. Awarded the Julie von Müllen travel grant (Royal Danish Academy of Sciences).
Worked on the research project ‘Danes in the United States 1850-2000’ from 2001 to 2004. This project was financed by the Carlsberg Foundation and included comprehensive registration of data which carried out by 10-12 students, a number of archive studies in the United States in 2001-2003 as well as a one-year research stay at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003-2004. In connection with this research stay, TGJ was granted a research scholarship from the Fulbright Commission and became a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Upper-Midtwestern Cultures.
Research stay and project completed with the thesis ‘Danes in the United States 1850-2000. A demographic, social and culture-geographical Survey of Danish Immigrants and their Descendants’, published in 2005.
Began in autumn 2008 to work on the research project ‘Ethnic Scandinavians or core Americans? Scandinavian descendants in today’s United States’. The aim of the project was to map and describe how well descendants of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian immigrants do in American society, and to what extent it is still possible to trace characteristics back to their Scandinavian ancestry in the their way of life, education, occupation, home location, marriage, political attitudes, religious affiliation and value-related values. In connection with the project, TGJ has made a number of trips to America in the course of 2009 and 2010 in order to collect data, make interviews with descendants and present the project at conferences. The project had financial support from, among others, Augustinus Fonden and A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal. In September 2010, the results appeared in book form in Danish, and in December 2010 in English, with the title ‘Scandinavian Descendants in the United States’.
In connection with research on Danish immigrants in the United States, TGJ has given a number of lectures at American universities and participated in various conferences. These include Northwestern University Chicago, University of Washington, Seattle, University of Wisconsin-Madison and conferences organized by Social Science History Association and Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies.
External examiner at the University of Southern Denmark since 1996.
TGJ is responsible for a number of international activities, including exhibitions and cultural activities, in a great many countries in Europe, USA and Asia. Hans Christian Andersen and Carl Nielsen are naturally key figures in this work, such as the Carl Nielsen Violin Competition in New York in 1999, the Hans Christian Andersen exhibition at EXPO ’99 in Kunming, China, the Carl Nielsen festival in Birmingham in 2001, the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen exhibition in connection with the major music festival in Bregenz in 2005, The Wild Swans exhibition in Mexico City, Washington DC and Beijing in 2010 as well as numerous Hans Christian Andersen and Carl Nielsen traveling exhibition displays around the world. In 2001, TGJ was invited by the Chinese minister of culture to make an official visit to China in recognition of their close cultural cooperation. In addition, TGJ has made many study trips, including a round trip of Europe to major museums and museum organizations on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Culture, open-air museums and living history in USA and Canada, historical Internet communication in Barcelona, music-historical communication in Vienna and Salzburg and modern technological dissemination of knowledge in a number of major institutions in the United States, such as Constitution Center Philadelphia, Abraham Lincoln Museum & Library in Springfield and Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Arkansas.
TGJ holds and has held a number of posts on boards and committees, such as the executive committee of The Danish Immigrant Museum in USA, Museerne.dk in Vordingborg, Symphonic Fairytales, Odense Turistbureau, H. C. Andersen Fonden and Musikhøst - Festival for ny musik, on the committee for the Publication of Carl Nielsen’s Correspondence, the Honorary Committee for the Carl Nielsen Violin Competitions, the panel of experts for H.C. Andersen 2005, member of The Committee for Building Conservation appointed by the Danish government, and, most recently, appointed by the Ministry of Culture a member of the reference group concerning the Museum Review 2010-2011.
Made a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog in May 2001.