While the Museum Liechtenstein in Vienna has closed down, the debate on the need for a permanent museum for the royal collection goes on in Norway and in Aftenposten today I have added my voice (external link) to those who argue that such a museum ought to come into existence the sooner the better.
Many good arguments in favour of a royal museum have already been put forward, and I choose to focus on one argument which has so far received less attention. While the interdisciplinary research field called court studies has grown around Europe in recent decades, there has been little academic interest in the monarchy in this country.
The history and the art history related to the monarchy have thus been left mostly to dilettantes or to academics with no special knowledge of the topic, which has led to some regrettable results. The lack of serious research into the monarchy is probably also part of the reason why the history of the Norwegian monarchy is often not properly understood; for instance there seems to be a not uncommon misconception that monarchy was something which was introduced in Norway 107 years ago.
Hopefully a museum for the royal collections might inspire serious and professional research into the history and art history of the monarchy, which could again lead to a better understanding of the monarchy and thus also of the country’s history, in which the monarchy has played a central role through the centuries.
As it now seems to be too late to have such a museum up and running in time for the bicentenary of Norway’s independence in 2014, which had originally been hoped, I suggest the King and Queen’s silver jubilee in January 2016 as an ideal opportunity to open a museum for the royal collections. This would also be an excellent way to mark the fact that preservation of and accessibility to the part of our common heritage that is the royal collection has been a priority for the current King and Queen and something which will also be an important part of their legacy when they are gone.