A Museum Cruise in Foul Waters: An Empirical Analysis of the Debate Triggered by the Proposal to Move the Norwegian Viking Ships from Bygdøy to Bjørvika

Joar Skrede


This article analyzes the debate that ensued from a suggestion to relocate three Norwegian Viking ships from Bygdøy to Bjørvika. People do not only debate the ships’ material vulnerability but they also express different views of what a modern museum is and should be. Some want to upgrade and preserve the existing museum, while others want to relocate the ships and integrate them in a wider culture-led urban regeneration agenda. The ships are torn between local, regional, and national political interests, and people have different opinions about the histories in which they should be inscribed. The empirical corpus is primarily made up of newspaper articles from the last 20 years, and the different arguments are systemized and presented thematically. In the closing remark, the article suggests that the Viking Ship Museum would benefit from a more clearly defined long-term agenda.


Museums; material culture; urban development; museum debate; heritage objects; The Viking Ship Museum; The Oseberg ship; Bygdøy, Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/mar.v10i1.19207

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