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Arts & Museums
The brainchild of Professor Gustafson, Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum) was built after ancient ships were discovered at Tune, Gokstad, Oseberg and Borre. The last wing of the museum was added in 1957. As one enters the museum, one has to walk past the Oseberg to reach the center of the museum. The mezzanine floor holds thematic exhibitions. In addition to the 900-year-old ship, they have viking artifacts and a burial chamber with entire skeletons intact. They also have a bookshop selling books, cards, posters, post cards, souvenirs and jewelry. Call ahead to know more. Tours must be booked ahead of time.
The famous Norwegian figure-skating star Sonja Henie and her husband Niels Onstad established this art center in 1968 by donating their private art collection and providing the necessary funding to jump-start the institution. Located in impressive surroundings and only 30 minutes from Oslo, with a sculpture park and its own little beach, the museum invites you to view temporary exhibitions of modern art, partially based on its own collections. The museum shop has a great selection, and the award-winning restaurant is definitely worth a visit.
Norsk Folkemuseum, the open-air museum that has been giving visitors a peek into a life-sized past for over a century, contains more than 150 authentic buildings from different regions. The buildings date from as far back as medieval times, including the 13th-century Gol Stave Church. The permanent exhibition features sections on handicrafts, traditional clothing and the culture of the Sami people. A souvenir shop, cafe and restaurant are located on the grounds.
The Norwegian Maritime Museum is located near the Kon-Tiki Museet and Frammuseet at Bygdynes. The permanent exhibition features a host of nautical objects and models as well as everyday Norwegian boats, while the video center shows the documentary film Norway from Coast to Sea several times a day. Its a great place to learn about Norway's maritime history and coastal culture. Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen's polar ship, the Gja, is moored at the quay and can be visited during the summer. You also get excellent souvenirs such as salute cannons, pirate games,mugs with useful knots and more at the museum's shop and dine at the cafe after the museum excursion.
Fritjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and Otto Sverdrup all sailed this 100-year-old ship (called the Fram) on their daring Arctic expeditions. Covered by a uniquely-shaped building on the Bygdy peninsula, the ship lends weight to the museum's focus on Norway's crucial role in the history of Arctic exploration. Visitors can now visit the ship's interior and see all its original contents and, best of all, can be sure to leave the ship without feeling seasick!
Kon-Tiki Museum focuses on explorer cum scientist Thor Heyerdahl's amazing expeditions all over the world. In addition to the original Kon-Tiki raft, the museum contains vessels like Ra II, a model of the Tigris and countless relics from Heyerdahl's expeditions. A cinema hall here shows films about Heyerdahl's scientific research; there is also a multimedia program. Various exhibitions at the museum include an underwater exhibition featuring a giant whale-shark, a cave tour and a display of rare kinds of boats.
Gallery Steen is mainly an exhibition space for the sale of contemporary art prosuced by artists such as Ernst Billgren. Harald Fenn, Jan Freuchen, Jens Fange and Lello Arnell. To reach this gallery, locate Cort Adlers gate which is the last street to the left before Drammensveien reaches Solli Plass. It is not a particularly long walk from the center of the city, but if you prefer not to walk there are plenty of buses and trams that pass by.
Although situated close to Frogner, Galleri K is hidden away in a quieter part of the city. The easiest way to find it is by walking through Aker Brygge and continuing along Munkedamsveien where the heavy traffic continues out of town. Gallery K hosts various exhibitions by artists such as Darren Almond, Sverre Bjertnes, Thomas Demand, Nina Roos and Judith Eisler. Contemporary art is the constant feature on display at Gallery K.
This gallery is situated in Frogner, on a side street to Bygdy Allé. The gallery exhibits old and more recent works of art, all of which are for sale. They also undertake restorations and offer valuations of older work. If you have enough time this is a good starting point for a stroll around this green part of the city.
Gallery Riis is one of two on this street that specialize in Nordic and international contemporary art. Maybe that is a good reason to visit them both? Galleri Riis has contracts with artists like Tom Sandberg, Per Maning and Signe Marie Andersen, and is highly recommended. Normally, there is a new exhibition every month; contact the gallery for further, detailed information.
This building was constructed under the direction of Oslo Municipality in the early 1920s as a home and studio for sculptor Gustav Vigeland. After his death in 1943, it was rebuilt as a museum. Most of his drawings, sketches, letters, sculptures and models are exhibited here. There is also a series of photographs from the work and construction of the central sculpture in Vigelandsparken, Monolitten. A primary focus of Vigeland Museum is to present a collection of three dimensional art, including sculptures and video-based works. A small museum shop resides here as well.
Located in Frognerparken by the Vigeland sculpture park, this museum takes you through Oslo's 1000 years of history. As capital of Norway, though, its history is much shorter. You will find models of the old city (when it was called Christiania and Norway was part of Denmark) and of Akershus Fortress. The museum has its own multimedia show and also arranges guided tours. Get a glimpse into Norway's past at the Oslo City Museum.