Norway Trip (v) : Oslo museums

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museums / travel

Using the Oslo Pass, we saw a bunch of museums. The first day we saw four, which might seem extreme, but they were closely bunched together. We took a boat trip across the bay to Bygdøy, which is both a quick and scenic way to get over to the museums. First stop was the Norsk Folkemuseum, the open air museum. This museum provides a fabulous insight into the way people lived in Norway in the past. It is a journey from urban Norway to sod covered wooden buildings. It’s an amazing place to see the classic wooden houses found in the Nordic countries.

Right next door, a 5-minutes walk away is the Vikingskipshuset, or Viking Ship Museum. The museum contains three excavated viking ships. The Oseberg Ship, built circa 820AD,  was found in 1903 in a burial mound on the farm of Lille Oseberg at Slagen in the county of Vestfold. The Gokstad Ship, built it 890AD, was found in 1879 in the Sandefjord municipality. The Oseberg ship, is exceptionally well preserved, and contained numerous artifacts which are also on display in the museum. The third ship, and the first Viking ship to ever be excavated, the Tune ship was found in 1867 on the farm of Nedre Haugen on the island of Rolvsøy, near Fredrikstad.

A little further along, closer to the boat rides second pick-up point, there are three museums. One of the museums is the Kon-Tiki Museum, which seems out of place, until you realize that it explores one of Norway’s greatest explorers – Thor Heyerdahl. Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean on a balsawood raft, Kon-Tiki, in 1947. He later completed further journeys with reed boats, Ra, RaII and Tigris. A fascinating museum, and well worth exploring.

The final museum we visited on that day was the FRAM museum, which explores the voyages of the 19th century polar ships. Housed in two A-frame buildings, the ships Fram and Gjøa tower above everything – and you can explore the depths of Fram, which is unlike most museum ships. Gjøa was the first ship through the Northwest Passage, and Fram, reputed to be the strongest wood ship ever built to withstand the crushing forces of ice, travelled to both North and South poles.

One museum we didn’t visit is the Norwegian Maritime Museum. It’s right next to FRAM, so if you have time it is likely worthwhile visiting, as it explores Norway’s long-time affinity with the sea. If art galleries are of interest, then head off to the National Gallery of Norway. If there is one well known Norwegian painter, it is Robert Munch, who pioneered the Expressionism. The National Gallery is home to the original of his most iconic work of art, The Scream. The National Gallery also has a pastel version of The Scream, whilst other versions of the masterpiece can be found at the Munch Museum.

There are many more museums in Oslo to visit, but only so much can be done in four days. For those interest in Munch, there is the Munch Museum, there is also The Museum of Architecture, the large Museum of Contemporary Art, Natural History Museum, and the Oslo City Museum. More than plenty to do.

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