Four of the best: Oslo’s museums

Oslo has much to offer in the way of fascinating museums. Here’s four of the best Oslo museums that you must see if you’re visiting the Norwegian capital.

Ra II in Kon-Tiki Museum Norway
Ra II in Kon-Tiki Museum: Photo on Flickr by image_less_ordinary / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

4 Best Oslo Museums

Kon-Tiki museum

Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl famously sailed a raft of balsa wood from Peru to Polynesia in 1947. He believed that in pre-Inca times, Peru had been occupied by a race of “white gods” who eventually sailed west across the Pacific. This migration, he claimed, populated Polynesia and Easter Island. By following in their footsteps, he intended to silence the naysayers who scorned his assertions. The Kon-Tiki museum houses vessels and maps from Heyerdahl’s expeditions, including the Kon-Tiki Expedition that crossed the Pacific and the Ra II Expedition which made it from North Africa to the Caribbean.

4 Best Oslo Museums: Kon Tiki
Kon-Tiki Museum: Photo on Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Munch museum

A large print of Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream” has adorned a wall in my house for many years. There are actually four originals, two of which were notoriously stolen but fortunately returned and restored. This iconic image was even featured in the 2006 M and M’s advertising campaign and the subject’s expression is said to have been the inspiration for the mask featured in the Scream series of slasher films. Born in 1863, Edvard Munch was a prolific artist until his death in 1944, a key player in the Symbolist movement and a pioneer of Expressionism in Norway. When he died, his works were bequeathed to the city of Oslo and the Munch Museum was built to house them.

The Scream by Edvard Munch
The Scream by Edvard Munch

Fram museum

Norway has a long history of polar exploration, which comes as no surprise given that the north of the country is the polar side of the Arctic Circle. Located, like Kon-Tiki, on the Bygdøy peninsula a short distance from central Oslo, it draws a steady stream of visitors wishing to learn more. The focal point of the Fram museum is the imposing Gjøa ship, the first to navigate the Northwest Passage in its entirety. Topics covered by the Fram museum’s exhibits include the polar expeditions of Roald Amundsen and others, the threat to polar bears, oil exploitation and environmental issues facing the area as well as a Northern Lights show.

4 Best Oslo Museums: Fram Museum Norway
Fram Museum: Photo on Wikipedia by Helge Høifødt / CC BY-SA 3.0

Viking Ship museum

Of course, the Norwegian relationship with the sea predates those 20th century polar explorers. The Viking Ship museum showcases finds from Viking tombs excavated around the Oslo fjord. On display are the two best preserved wooden Viking ships, dating from the 9th century, including the impressive Oseberg ship discovered in a huge burial mound on a farm. Alongside these incredible ships you’ll find a range of artefacts from the same era, including sledges, tools, household implements and textiles.

Oseberg ship
Oseberg ship: Photo Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / CC BY 2.0

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

Other posts by the Author

One Response

  1. Overlooked European Destinations: 3 Not to Miss | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] offer, we recommend Norway in a Nutshell. Essentially this is a scenic train trip from the capital, Oslo, to Flam and Bergen. You can add a bus ride to nearby towns and a boat excursion to the […]


Leave a Reply