Don’t leave Oslo without a stop at one of the museums! Some of the best ones also have free entrance. There is loads to experience, just be sure to check the opening hours, they vary from place to place. Drop by the Use-It office for information or to borrow a computer and check for yourself!
Several of Oslo’s most interesting museums can be found at the Bygdøy peninsula. You can get there by taking boat 91 (May-September only) from the Rådhus pier no. 3 to Bygdøynes, or by bus nr. 30 from Nationaltheatret. Bygdøy is also at perfect biking distance from central Oslo.
Norway’s largest and oldest folk museum is an open-air collection with more than 150 houses from different parts of the country. You can visit one of Norway’s few remaining medieval stave churches, and talk to the nice guides dressed up in national costumes. Especially worth a visit if you don’t have a chance to visit other parts of Norway. There are daily activities all summer.
Viking Ship Museum
Huk Aveny 35.
The world’s best-preserved viking ships and other authentic 900-year old artefacts. A popular museum, so be prepared to fight your way through hoards of other tourists!
The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl built the papyrus raft Kon-Tiki to sail from America to Polynesia in 1947. Here are Easter Island statues, a full size 10 m. whale shark, and a film room with continuous showings of Thor Heyerdahls exhibitions.
The Polar Ship Fram
The polar ship Fram was used for expeditions by Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen, and went both to the North and the South Pole. Built in 1892, the ship is exhibited with original interior and inventory, and you can walk around on the ship, both inside and up on deck.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is found in the old quarter of Oslo. Close to the main entrance of Akershus Fortress there are also several smaller art galleries.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
The museum is Norway’s national centre for modern art. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions of international and Norwegian artists. Perhaps the only museum in the world where visitors can leave behind bags and coats in a vault – the museum is located in the monumental 95-year-old former headquarters of the Norwegian National Bank. Free entrance on Sundays!
Astrup Fearnley Museum
Right in the middle of a spanking new part of town you’ll find Oslo’s biggest museum of modern art. Fantastic museum building by Renzo Piano and temporary exhibitions of Norwegian and foreign artists from ‘45 until today. Among the permanent exhibitions you find artist as Damien Hirst and Jeff Coons.
The National Gallery
The largest collection of Norwegian and international art up to 1945. Emphasis on the major works from the National Romantic period. The painting “Scream” by Edvard Munch is displayed here. Free entrance on Sundays!
The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
St. Olavsgate 1
Historical collections of Norwegian and international costume, fashion design, textiles, furniture, silver, glass, ceramics and other craft forms the 7th century to the present. Also some temporary exhibitions. Free entrance on Sundays!
The Historical Museum
Here you can walk through Norway’s ancient history, presented in a contemporary way. There is a large Viking-age department. If you get tired of Norwegian culture, go upstairs.
Natural History Museum
Sars’ gate 1
Right in the middle of the Botanical Gardens (see “Parklife” for info on the Gardens) you’ll find: The Zoological Museum, The Geological Museum (with a full-sized T-rex) and greenhouses. Take the underground to Tøyen/Munch museet.
Paintings and graphic works, including various versions of The Scream, from the Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch. Interesting exhibit downstairs depicting Munch’s life. Transport: any metro going east to Tøyen.
The Ibsen Museum
Ibsen’s apartment. Henrik Ibsen lived in this apartment from 1895 until he died in 1906. The apartment in itself isn’t very interesting, but the guided tours are. The guides give you an insight into his life, work, personality and quirky habits.
The Stenersen Museum
The Stenersen Museum is a gallery for contemporary art. It also houses three private art collections donated by Rolf E. Stenersen, Amaldus Nielsen, and Ludvig O. Ravensberg.
Norways Resistance Museum
Akershus festning, building 21
Norway was occupied by Germany for five years during the second World War, from 1940 to 1945. The museum portrays the Resistance movement’s battle against the germans.
The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DogA) offers design- and architecture exhibitions, conferances, restaurant and a bar. If you ever are in town for the Pecha Kucha nights which is held at DogA you should definitely go! Pecha Kucha is a presentation night which is held four times a year. Here designers, architects, musicians and artists share ideas and presents their work in a short time frame (6 minutes and 40 seconds per presentation), some in English. There’s also a DJ or a live gig. Check out www.pechakucha.org for more info.
Sonja Henies vei 31
Not actually in Oslo, but on the Oslo fjord and an exciting museum so we’ll include it anyway! Norway’s largest collection of international modern art. Varying exhibitions, sculpture park, extensive museum shop and an excellent restaurant. Guided tours in several languages. Take Bus 151 from the train station.
Emanuel Vigeland Museum
The Emanuel Vigeland Museum is actually a mausoleum. The strangely shaped building is decorated inside with an 800 square meter fresco: “Vita”. Vigeland spent 20 years painting it. Some tourists claim this is the best sight in Norway. Emanuel Vigeland is the brother of Gustav Vigeland, who made the Vigeland Park. Take the Subway line 1 to Slemdal.
Museum of Science and Technology
Cars, planes, computers and trains. And alot more. Excellent for children. Take bus 54 from Jernbanetorget or Aker Brygge, or the tram to Kjelsås Railway Station.
The Holmenkollen Skimuseum
The entrance fee includes access to the ski museum, café, shops and a trip to the top of the skijump. Take metro no 1 to Holmenkollen for a great view of the city, and visit the worlds oldest ski museum.
The Oslo Pass is the easiest and cheapest way to experience Oslo.
The Oslo Pass gives you free entry to 33 museums and attractions, free public transport, free parking in municipal parking lots, a lot of activities and special offers in restaurants, shops, entertainment, leisure venues and much more.
But remember that if you’re not up for more than a few activities or attractions the card doesn’t pay off, as many museums are free to enter anyway.
Buy it at Oslo’s information centres, hotels, hostels and camping sites.