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About Svalbard Museum

The museum has a particular role as a disseminator of the unique natural and cultural history of Svalbard. The museum also holds an important position as an institution of knowledge in the Arctic - a Norwegian institution in an international landscape.

Svalbard Museum aim to collect, preserve, disseminate and work with research connected to natural and cultural history, environment and cultural heritage on Svalbard.

From voluntary work to a professional museum

The first museum committee 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)

  • The photo shows an "atlant", a wooden figure probably used as an ornament on a ship.
    A wooden figure, an "atlant" is displayed in the exhibition. Hege Anita Eilertsen / Svalbard museum
  • Photo shows a hat and other objects.
    The hat might have belonged to Willem Barentzs. Hege Anita Eilertsen / Svalbard museum
  • Two young children reading in an album.
    Children studying in an old trapper's cabin. Hege Anita Eilertsen
  • 4/14
    Hege Anita Eilertsen / Svalbard museum
  • Picture shows Svalbard reindeer in the museum exhibition.
    The Svalbard reindeer are adapted to a life in the Arctic Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • Photo shows Russian religious icon.
    Photo shows a religious Russian icon. It is connected to the first Russian trappers on Svalbard, the Pomor people. Hege Anita Eilertsen / Svalbard museum
  • The photo shows handheld harpoons for whaling.
    Handheld harpoons for whaling. Hege Anita Eilertsen / Svalbard museum
  • Photo shows children wearing the coal miner's outfit.
    Children investigation the coal miner's life. Hege Anita Eilertsen
  • Photo shows jacket from a whaler´s grave.
    Some of the archaeological finds are sensational, both in sharing history but also as a statement of the Arctic climate. Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • Photo shows a fossil.
    Fossilis from sea and land can be seen in the exhibition Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • The photo shows one of the museum objects in the exhitibion.
    After the discovery of Svalbard, numerous exhibitions were launched to explore the archipelago and start scientific work. Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • Photo shows a trapper´s cabin, Norwegian style
    Trapper´s cabin, Norwegian style Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • Photo shows knitted hats.
    Knittet hats from the "whaler´s periode" at Svalbard Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum
  • Photo of the museum section "inner Arctic".
    In the section "Inner Arctic", there is time to reflect. Ragnhild Utne / Svalbard Museum

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

Museum24:Portal - 2024.06.11
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