Sunday, 27 June 2010

A royal museum in Oslo at last?

Ten years after the Royal Palace in Oslo opened its doors to the public during the summers, most of the royal collection gathers dust in unsuitable storage facilities. Years ago there were plans for a palace museum, plans which have now been dusted off.
A few years ago Olav Aaraas, managing director of the Museum of Cultural Heritage, was asked by the Ministry of Culture to look into how one could secure the 400,000 items included in the royal collections. However, the Ministry has so far not taken any further steps, but there is a hope that something may happen in connection with the King and Queen’s 75th birthdays in 2012.
Bearing in mind that the Royal Court’s standards when it comes to researching and presenting its own history and heritage unfortunately are not always as professional as one might expect, it would in my opinion perhaps be a good idea if such a palace museum were created in cooperation with another institution or perhaps even organisationally part of another museum, such as Oslo Museum or the Museum of Cultural Heritage, which is also in charge of the manors Bogstad and Eidsvoll as well as the Ibsen Museum.
Years ago it was hoped that such a museum might eventually be located in the palace mews, but this is now out of the question as the Court has recently asked for 500 million NOK to reconstruct the Palace Square, repair the palace roof and turn the mews into offices, storage facilities and a library – the Court has long outgrown the Palace with its 173 rooms (compared to the 608 rooms of the Royal Palace in Stockholm).
However, the building boom which will see several institutions relocated into new buildings in the coming years will also leave several older institutional buildings empty and in an interview with Aftenposten recently (external link), Anniken Thuse, the outgoing managing director of Bergen Art Museums, recently suggested the building of Norges Geografiske Opmaaling (pictured above), which will soon be vacated by the Art Academy and which is situated across Wergeland Road from the Palace Park.
This seems like an excellent idea, as it is not only an interesting (and available) building located close to the Palace, but as Thue points out it will also provide outdoors space for old cars and carriages. One can only hope that the plans for such a museum will be followed up soon.

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