From voluntary work to a professional museum
The first museum committe was established in Longyearbyen in 1964. In 1969, 86 objects was collected in the old pose office below the church. January 18th 1979, the first Board of Directors was constituted and in 1981 the museum opened it's doors for the general visitors in the old pig stable. The museum was officially opened February 20th 1982.
For years to come, the activity was based upon the voluntary work and commitment of the locals. Until 1998, there were no hired employees. In 1999, again in cooperation with the local community, the work towards beeing a "professional" museum commenced.
Svalbard Museum was organized as a part the local "Svalbardrådet" (Svalbard council), became a foundation in 2000 and in 2002, as a departement in the newly establised "Longyearbyen Lokalstyre" (The local council of Longyearbyen).
Glimpses from the museum's exhibitions
Cultural and natural history connected to Svalbard. The exhibitions offer insight and knowledge through objects, reconstructed models, text and photos (photo carousel below)
2006: new exhibitions in the "Forskningsparken"
In 2006, the museum once again was formed a foundation and moved into the newly built Forskingsparken (Svalbard Science Park). Here, the museum has it's main exhibition, repository, offices and laboratories. The founders was Longyearbyen lokalstyre, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani AS, Universitetssenteret på Svalbard AS, Norsk Polarinstitutt og Sysselmannen på Svalbard (now Sysselmesteren).These are appointing the Board of Directors.
The museum is financed from Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet and Kultur- og likestillingsdepartementet. We operate the repositorys/artifact collections with ca 55.000 objects, the digital photo archive with more than 27.000 digital photos (collections). In February 2023, the museum has 12 employees.