These hints from insider Ragnhild Martine Bø will lead you to high quality historical museums all over Norway.
Ragnhild Martine Bø, art historian and lecturer at The Institute of archeology, conservation and history in Oslo, is the person to ask for guidance to some of Norway’s key historical museums. You will find good exhibitions all over the country that are suitable regardless of your prior knowledge.
Numerous famous and rare objects on display tell the story of the country’s development. These places’ fresh and modern approach to architecture and presentation makes the past come alive.
Photo: Ragnhild Martine Bø
The Historical Museum in Oslo is the fast track to a deeper knowledge of the origins of Norwegians. It is also a visual guide to the unexpected development of the Norwegian society from rather poor and self-sufficient to far more independent and international.
The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo is among the most visited exhibitions in Norway. The wooden vessels from the 9th century are flanked by numerous objects that reveal everyday life in the Viking Age. The museum also shows that the history of the Vikings has many layers, and it captures our imagination and curiosity.
Borgund stave church in Lærdal is situated at the gate to the Sognefjord. The characteristic shapes of the stave churches are among the strongest symbols of Norwegian history, and Borgund ranks as one of the best preserved. The new visitor centre houses an exhibition of the culture of Norwegian stave churches in general.
The Archbishop’s palace museum in Trondheim is part of the site of the Nidaros Dome. In the early 1990s a fire destroyed some of the wooden buildings and a new and airy museum was built. A result of the construction was unseen archeological finds that have substantially enriched the collection of the museum.
The Sami Museum in Varangerbotn manages to house the long history of the Sami culture in a modern piece of architecture that is clearly inspired by local building traditions. This extensive, permanent exhibition is regularly animated by several cultural events.
The Museum of Archaeology in Stavanger tells the story about the region way before it got world-famous for its petrol industry. People have been living here for a long, long time, and the proofs are in the museum’s collection of numerous every day objects.
The extensive exhibition of Bergen Historical Museum runs from the Age of Antiquity to the present. If you are into archeology and ethnography, you will find entire collections that witness progress of the special way of life in the Stavanger region, including – of course – the Viking culture. The section of church art is considered to be the most important in Norway.
Eidsvoll 1814, the Norwegian Center for Constitution, is named after the small city and the building where Norway got the first part of its independence, which later led to the complete secession in 1905. This birthplace of the Norwegian constitution also consists of a visitor centre that contains the exhibition “Citizens in a Living democracy” as well as changing exhibitions inside and outside.
There is no need to wait until you’re here to find out what you want to see.
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The most visited Norwegian museums are those displaying art and artefacts unique to Norway’s traditions and culture, from vikings to Edvard Munch. Here are a few of the most important ones.
The Vikings have earned their place in history as a seafaring warrior culture with a fine eye for design and a good ear for storytelling.
With Oslo as a starting point, there are several historical places to visit to get a glimpse of Munch's life and work.