The Norwegian Mining Museum has comprehensive and diverse collections of artifacts, minerals, buildings, photographs, documents, and records. These collections explore and chronicle the development of mining througout the 335 years that the silver mines in Kongsberg were in operation. The museum’s main attraction is its silver and mineral collection. The former represents the largest collection of native silver anywhere in the world, and the latter encompasses a unique collection of Norwegian emeralds, rubies, and gold nuggets, along with other Norwegian gems, minerals, and ores.
At the Norwegian Mining Museum, you can:
- Learn more about Kongsberg industrial history, from the development of Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk (the Kongsberg arms factory) to the growth of its high-tech companies of today.
- Gain historical insight into coin production from “silverdalers” to modern nickel coins, as well as medals from the great Nordic War to the Nobel Peace Prize. The first coins produced in Norway were made at the mint at Akershus Fortress in 1628, using silver from the silver mines. In 1686, coin production was moved to Kongsberg, where it remains today. These coins still carry a crossed hammer and chisel - the international symbol of mining.
- Take a trip through the golden age of Norwegian ski jumping from 1924 to 1952, an era dominated by the “Kongsberg-jumpers”, including brothers Sigmund, Asbjørn, and Birger Ruud as the local champions. Here, visitors will find everything from silver cups from local competitions to Olympic medals.
Tour the silver mines
Tour the silver mines. Join a train raid that takes you 342 meters below the surface and 2.3 kilometers into the mountain. Inside the king’s mine, there is a guided tour through shafts and stopes. You will even examine the fascinating and famous “Fahrkunst” – a mine elevator built in 1881. (The tour takes 1.5 hours, and the temperature in the mine is 6°C, so you must dress warmly).
Hold an event. The museum’s banquet hall is a wonderful function room for gatherings, concerts and various kinds of performances for groups small and large.
Activities for children
At the Norwegian Mining Museum, you will encounter activity grounds where children can interactively learn about and try the tasks of a traditional miner. There are demonstrations of the old mining technique, of fire setting. You can make your own coin, just as they did in Kongsberg three hundred years ago. With a hammer and chisel, you can “excavate” minerals that are then yours to keep. You can also “wash out” silver and bring the silver home with you. The area around the mines also has a lot to offer families, including a popular spot for bathing and a museum shop in the Sakkerhusene. Bring picnic basket and enjoy your lunch in beautiful surroundings.
The restaurant Sakkerhuskroa is located at the Sakkerhusene, close to the entrance of the silver mines. The Sakkerhusene is the traditional housing of the miners during the work week. These magnificent buildings were built by architect Georg Andreas Bull between 1867 and 1874. Today, the Sakkerhusene are used for meetings, conferences and dinners. In Sakkerhuskroa you can enjoy dinner, lunch, cakes, juice, soda, coffee and tea, inside the building or outside in the garden.
The museum shops boast a large selection of souvenirs, minerals, books, literature about mining, gems, arts and crafts, jewelry, and other beautiful gifts. One of the most popular items is a reproduction of an old miner’s lamp used in the mines in Kongsberg in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.