Oslo Viking Ship Museum closes until 2025
One of Norway’s most popular museums is closing its doors today to begin a major renovation and expansion. The University of Oslo‘s Viking Ship Museum will reopen as a Viking Age museum, but no earlier than 2025. Not everyone is happy with the timeline.
Attracting around 500,000 people a year before the pandemic, the Viking Ship Museum was specially built to house three of the oldest Viking ships in the world.
The ships Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune were all discovered in large burial mounds along the Oslo Fjord. The ships were built at 9e century and have been carefully studied, revealing many new facts about the Viking Age.
A new all-in-one attraction
Despite Norway‘s connection to the Viking Age, the country lacks a single museum dedicated to the era. Approved by the Norwegian government in 2019, the new Viking Age Museum will be three times the size of the existing facility, housing not only the ships, but many other Viking Age artifacts currently in storage and still in the process of being used. discovery.
Many new discoveries have been made in recent years thanks to technological advancements, including the tomb of Gjellestad near Halden in south-eastern Norway. Digital technology has also revealed new knowledge about existing artifacts such as the Tune ship.
The new installation will benefit from better climate regulation, essential to preserve the delicate wood of ships. It will also house a restaurant, a conference room, facilities for visiting school groups, a laboratory accessible to the public, a research center and a public park.
According to plans, the museum will be much more than a tourist attraction. It is intended to function as an “active focal point for academic communities”, hosting seminars and visiting scholars.
A controversial closure
The plan to keep the existing museum closed throughout the project is proving controversial. Millions of people will miss the opportunity to learn during the project, which could take up to five years.
Although the new museum is being built on the current site, it is an expansion of the existing facilities rather than a complete reconstruction. This fact has led many politicians in Oslo to demand that at least part of the museum remain open.
Museum director HÃ¥kon GlÃ¸rstad told NRK that leaving the ships on display would be “ideal”, but logistics and space issues mean they have no choice but to shut down completely. He said every ship should be secured and protected during the works, leaving no room for visitors.