The National Swedish Museums of Military History (SFHM) was formed in 1976 when the Army Museum in Stockholm and the Navy Museum in Karlskrona were united. The newly created Air Force Museum in Linköping was added the following year, and The Board of Military traditions, an advisory body for traditions, heraldry, etc., relating to the Swedish Armed Forces was added in 1992. The last part of SFHM - the office of the Swedish Military Heritage (SMHA:k) was added 1 January 2009.
SFHM was initially organised as part of the Swedish armed forces and later transferred to the Ministry of Defence. Since 1996 it has been under the Ministry of Culture. The Navy Museum was transferred to the National Maritime museums (SMM) in 1997. Since 2008, SFHM has been responsible for a network of approximately 20 museums relating to particular units and for certain defence facilities of a culture historical value that previously had been under the auspices of the Swedish armed forces. In addition, SFHM supports other activities related to the cultural heritage of the armed forces at approximately 30 locations throughout Sweden.
The Army Museum has been located at Artillerigården in Östermalm, Stockholm, since it was opened in 1879. The site has been used for military purposes since the middle of the 17th century, and the main depot of the artillery was located here for nearly 300 years. The current buildings were erected during the latter part of the 18th century. The museum was first known as the Artillery Museum, and changed its name to the Army Museum at the beginning of the 1930s, in order to reflect more accurately the focus of the museum. The museum underwent a major refurbishment and opened in new, modern premises in 1943.
A further refurbishment led to the museum being closed in 1993, to reopen in 2000. The museum covers not only the history of the army, but also the role that the Swedish armed forces play in the development of society. The Army Museum is also the only museum that displays the historical development of Sweden. The Army Museum was awarded the title of Stockholm's Best Museum in 2005.
The air force is a young branch of the armed forces compared to the army. The first collection of aircraft was formed in 1953 at the wing that was located at the exercise field outside of Malmen, close to Linköping. The collection gradually grew to become an airforce museum, and the Swedish parliament decided in 1977 that such a museum should be formally set up. The first modern exhibition building was opened in 1984. This was supplemented five years later with an extension, and the third stage of building development is currently in progress. The Air Force Museum, however, is already a unique museum, not only within Sweden but also in an international perspective.
The Swedish Military Heritage office (SMHA:k) is a joint organisation between the National Museums of Military History (SFHM) and National Maritime museums (SMM). The office supports a network of 23 military museums all over Sweden. 5 of the 23 museums are still under construction and the last of them will open in 2012.