Stavanger Museum is located in the city centre and comprices 3 departments, cultural history department, natural history department and Norweian Children Museum. The administration of Museum Stavanger is also located here,
CULTUAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT
The main theme of "From Ancient Landscape to Oil Town” is the history of Stavanger from its founding in 1125 until 1995, the year the exhibition first opened. Here you can learn about how the area was first populated thousands of years ago, and how Stavanger's modern history has been shaped by various natural resources taken from the sea which have subsequently been used as the basis for the town's major industry. During the last two centuries, the main sources of income for the people of Stavanger have been herring, followed by brisling and the canning industry, and finally the oil industry in the late 1960s.
On display on this floor is also a selection of local church art produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth century by artists such as Peter Reimers, Gottfried Hendtzschel and Anders L. Smith. Stavanger has always been a town with strong international connections. The strongest links have naturally been with the other countries around the North Sea, but from the end of the seventeenth century, shipping and missionary work made Stavanger an international town with global contacts.Today the museum’s ethnographic collection, with its display of artifacts from Asia, Oceania, America and Africa, bears witness of the many exotic journeys undertaken by the town’s inhabitants. All artifacts were donated to Stavanger Museum by seamen and missionaries.
Where do babies come from? What is DNA? What was it like to be a midwife 150 years ago? The exhibition ”The Miracle of Life” opened in 2012, and was created in cooperation with the museum association Den kombinerede Indretning. Many of the objects displayed here are from Den kombinerede Indretning’s extensive collection of medical equipment and other health related objects from about 1850 until recent times.
The exhibition’s main themes are pregnancy and birth, and it displays the entire course from fertilization through the post-natal period from a cultural history perspective. Here you can learn about what happens in a woman’s body during pregnancy, ancient contraceptive methods, old taboos connected to pregnancy and birth, as well as the development of pre – and post-natal care in Norway and in other parts of the world.
A computer game allows you to test your knowledge of the reproduction process, and if you have ever wondered how it feels to be inside the womb you can give it a try in our enlarged model one!
NATURAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT
Disfigured animals and smiling skeletons. Are you perhaps wondering what a Museum actually is? Is it the same today as it was 100 years ago? In the basement of the Museum you can find a selection of the Museum’s oldest and most remarkable items. Both splendid examples of Norwegian wildlife and some amazing animals from the big wide world out there. Huge whales, birds with rich plumage, and not least some rarities such as a chicken with four legs and a foot from a genuine mummy. Do you experience the Museum in the same way as visitors in the past? This exhibition was produced in connection with Stavanger Museum’s 125th anniversary in 2002 and shows zoological specimens which were collected in the Museum’s early days. Even though they show the mark of time, some of them are today irreplaceable.
The zoological collections comprise items from the fauna of both Rogaland and Norway, but are also built up from collections of overseas animals. The collections increased rapidly from the Museum’s early beginning and after three years 581 specimens of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, 211 fishes and 500 insects had been collected.
Right from the start Stavanger Museum has had support from the population of the town and over the whole of Jæren. New gifts, especially birds, came streaming in. Many animals were also acquired through private individuals, gamekeepers and taxidermists both in Norway and abroad. Some were obtained from zoos, especially Copenhagen Zoo. The city’s involvement with both seafaring and mission created an increasing interest in foreign cultures. Both sailors and missionaries brought ethnographic material and exotic (stuffed) animals to the Museum. This was significant for the diversity of species in the Museum’s collections. Many animals and birds were also obtained by swapping with museums and taxidermists, both in Norway and abroad.