Showcasing Oslo’s rich past
TEXT:SUNNIVA DAVIES-ROMMETVEIT | PHOTOS © OSLO MUSEUM
Set in the beautiful Frogner Park in the heart of the city, Museum of Oslo guides visitors through the city’s rich history, allowing them to gain insight into how Oslo became the great metropolis it is today.
Part of the award-winning Oslo Museum, the Museum of Oslo (Bymuseet) is a platform for Oslo’s vibrant past, with numerous exhibitions focusing on different points throughout the city’s long history. One exhibition, OsLove, takes visitors on a thousand-year journey in 20 minutes – with audio guides available in eight different languages.
Another, called Seventies, explores a decade of rebellious transformation, which saw fashionable city dwellers donning Afghan coats in the height of the hippy movement, as well as the very first slices of pizza being served in Oslo’s restaurants. “Museum of Oslo really takes people on a journey into the history of Oslo,” explains director Lars Emil Hansen. “It shows our visitors how this city has evolved and transformed over the centuries, and allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the people who have lived in and used Oslo over the years.”
Being based in one of the city’s most popular green spaces, Museum of Oslo is housed in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, where guests can enjoy a coffee and cake in the idyllic courtyard. This June, the museum will also open a brand-new exhibition, called Urban Creatures. “This will highlight the fact that Oslo is home to many different creatures, and the importance of the relationship between humans and animals,” Hansen says.
The museum also uses innovative technology in order to showcase the city’s past and present. Along with the audio guides provided in eight different languages, there is also an augmented reality app for children, called City Detective. “We believe that this technology really enhances the museum experience for children. For instance, they can see a family of 19 crammed into a one-bed flat, or they can witness how the main street of Oslo, Karl Johan, has transformed over the years,” Hansen explains.
Locals and tourists alike continue to flock to Museum of Oslo, with its ever-changing exhibitions piquing interests in a city with deep roots and an equally rich past. “We are proud that Oslo Museum was awarded Museum of the Year for 2019 by Norway’s Museum Association,” Hansen says, adding: “We feel that Museum of Oslo allows people to learn about and reflect on this great city, and to therefore appreciate it fully.”