Museum of Cultural History in Oslo
Kulturhistorisk museum Universitet i Oslo (Museum of Cultural History in Oslo – KHM) is one of two partners of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk in the “Shipwreck Conservation Centre combined with Studio Warehouse in Tczew – construction of cultural infrastructure of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk” project.
The main sphere of cooperation between NMM in Gdańsk and KHM in Oslo as the project is concerned will be exchange of experience and effective practices in digitalization process. In 2015 both institutions with Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo will organize in Gdańsk a joint conference concerning the issue of conservation and digitalization of museum collections.
Since the beginning of 90’s Museum of Cultural History in Oslo participates in the multinational cooperation aiming at creation of shared university museum data base. It is also an administrator as well as the main supplier of the content for an online catalogue functioning as a part of web portal Universitetsmuseenes Samlingportaler www.unimus.no. The catalogue consists of images (couple of thousands on the Creative Commons license), maps and descriptions of the archaeological collections. Portal contains additionally over 450 thousands of photos provided by university museums. In the not far distant future those resources are going to be linked to the Europeana portal.
Museum in Oslo is one of the most influential cultural institutions in Norway and possesses the largest collection of archaeological and ethnographic relics as well as numismats. Archaeological relics collection originated in 1811 when Norges Vel (Norwegian Society for Development) started gathering the relics. Then it has been repossessed by the Oslo University so that it could now, as the part of KHM, constitute a rich selection of over a million items. Ethnographic collection has been assembled since 1857 and now it includes over 55 000 of items from all over the world.
The Coin Cabinet, since its creation in 1817 until this very day, gathered up an impressive exhibition of over a quarter of a million items from all over the world. Among them the collection of 20 000 Greek and Roman coins, over 50 000 coins from Viking times’ Europe and over 20 000 Norwegian coins from Viking era and medieval ages, perceived as the most vital ones. Collections that are part of permanent and temporary exhibitions in the Historical Museum and Viking Ship Museum are also available via internet.
Apart from exhibition activity Museum of Cultural History in Oslo realizes numerous projects in the field of culture and actively participates in the process of digitalization. The most notable museum projects from the last five years are, among many others:
- Avaldsnes Royal Manor Project – implemented in 2011 and 2012. The main aim of the project was to establish the importance of the royal premises in Avaldsnes in the times of early Kingdom of Norway and early on in the beginning of Anno Domini. Within the project the archeological excavations had been conducted to gather the source material for the further analysis.
- Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement – executed from 2010 to 2012, financed from HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area – the partnership of 21 European organizations www.heranet.info) resources. The primary concern of the project was to estimate the influence of the globalization on the agitation or limitation of the creative forms of culture. Involved in the project were: Europe, India, Africa, Australia and both Americas with the Caribbean region. Following institutions participated in the project: School of History and Anthropology from Great Britain, Free University Amsterdam from the Netherlands, Manchester Metropolitan University from Great Britain and Museum of Cultural History from Norway.
- Death, Materiality and the Origin of Time – executed since 2011. The aim of the project is the analysis of the relations between death, material culture and time, the last one being the most abstract concept from them all. Burial ceremonial and beliefs connected with death are some of the key elements of the project. As a part of this project a series of experiments is going to be conducted, effecting in the exhibition in the Museum of Cultural History in 2015.
- Gokstad revitalized – commenced in 2009. The basic aim of this project is to build a context around Gokstad barrow and to answer a question of the identity of so called ‘man from Gokstad’, who had been entombed (with goods and animals) in the sepulchral chamber on the ship (currently being part of the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo exposition). Conducted research are supposed to demonstrate the importance of the burial, as well as the whole barrow ambient space, for the Viking era and assure its rightful place in the Norwegian cultural heritage. The project is carried out with help of resources from Anders Jahre’s Humanitarian Foundation.
- Making Sense Through the Senses. Exploring the Aesthetics of Ritual – project financed from KHM own funds. The genesis of the project is the thesis that every social group, every action taken by an individual and every phenomenon known to man has a form, materialization plane, meaning and element of sense. The purpose of the project is to investigate the relations between them through means of analyzing and comparing the rituals in four regions of the world: Polynesia, Sri Lanca, Zanzibar and South Africa. Special attention will be given to the relation between the composition as well as structure of rituals and their perception with addition of values that are distinctive for the societies participating in the rituals.
- Religion and Money – interdisciplinary project that aims at building the context for the key numismatic collections in KHM, based on historical data, material culture and the analysis of the link between religion and money in the ancient and medieval societies. The research’s concern are fields like: archaeology, numismatics, theology and anthropology. Such cross-sectoral examination of the matter is a novelty. The main subjects of research are money and morality, sacral locations and currency use, the economy of salvation.
- The Assembly Project – (TAP) is an international project executed from 2010 to 2013 concerned with first ruling systems in Northern Europe. More accurately – the assembly sites in Northern Europe in the period between 400 and 1500 a.d. The project used HERA Joint Research Programme funds.
- The Liceo Project – project exploring the area of southern border of Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli (around 60 km from Rome). The basic aim of the project is to learn about and understand the functions and chronology of the buildings located on the area under examination (commonly known as Liceo). Another aim is to recreate the map of premises with use of geographic information system as well as to attempt to digitally reconstruct the buildings. The project will conclude with monograph and educational activities due to the participation of students from Norway and Sweden.
- The Neretva Valley Project – (NVP) – research project which main point of interest is the major route from the shore of Adriatic Sea, inland the Balkans to the nowadays territories of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the period from 200 b.c. to 200 a.d. Its aim is to understand on more deeper level the cultural diffusions in the region as well as the process of Romanization of southern Illyria and Dalmatia. Another goal of the project is to create maps of settlements in the Neretva Valley. The project, co-financed by KHM, commenced in 2009.
- Saving Oseberg Project – saving project aiming at protection of the collections of Osenberg findings from Viking era. Because of the conservation methods used ages ago many of the items are badly preserved and require developing new restoration methods, enabling those collection to be kept for future generations. Every conversation technique is thoroughly documented. Project financed from the resources of the Kingdom of Norway and University in Oslo.
Museum of Cultural History in Oslo has over twenty years of experience in digitalization projects’ realization, including the creation of digital database, its organization, systematization and archiving, as well as online publication. To this day the Museum has conducted digitalization of over 500 thousands archive photographic negatives (the results have been made accessible on the web portal unimus www.unimus.no).
Since the beginning of 90’s museum participates in the international cooperation aiming at creation of shared university museum data base where it perform a leading role. It is also an administrator as well as the main supplier of the content for an online catalogue functioning as a part of web portal Universitetsmuseenes Samlingportaler www.unimus.no. The catalogue consists of images (couple of thousands on the Creative Commons license), maps and descriptions of the archeological collections. Portal contains additionally over 450 thousands of photos provided by university museums. In the not far distant future those resources are going to be linked to the Europeana portal.
Project “Shipwreck Conservation Centre with Studio Warehouse in Tczew – construction of new cultural infrastructure of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk” within the Programme “Conservation and revitalization of cultural heritage”. Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and co-financed by the Polish funds.