A Look At Stavanger's Museums

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Museums are something we tend to visit when we're away from home and they often slip from our minds when we're looking for things to do when we're not travelling.  Despite it's small size, Stavanger has a pretty great array of museums to visit.  With Jeanie's visit and the PWC, I've been able to check quite a few out but I look forward to exploring them all while we're here.

*Stavanger Museum - Housing both cultural and natural history, the Stavanger Museum has been open to the public since 1893.  Here we can learn the history of our city and see what life was like here hundreds of years ago.  It's also home to the Children's Museum.
Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-16:00

*Stavanger Art Museum - The art museum has a really great location on the edge of the Mosvannet, a lake not far from the centre of town.  The museum showcases a few Norwegian artists but it also welcomes smaller exhibitions from other artists.
Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-16:00
*Stavanger Maritime Museum - Currently closed until May 15, 2013 for renovations, this museum is next on my list to visit.  It's home to many maritime related artifacts and 2 sailing ships dating back to 1848 and 1897.
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-16:00
*The Norwegian Canning Museum - This is a favourite to most who visit.  Before oil, canning was a major industry in Stavanger which was home to some 130 canneries.  The museum is located in Gamle Stavanger and housed in a former cannery.  Many of the machines are still in working condition and visiting is really like stepping back in time.  Guided tours are offered and they are essential to really experience the exhibit at its best.  The first Sunday of the month they fire up the sardine smoking as it would have been done in the early 1900s.
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-16:00
*Utstein Monastery - Norway's only preserved monastery is located about a 30 minute drive from Stavanger.  Historical records date the site back to the 9th century although construction of the main building began in 1260.
The museum closes during the winter, reopening in March on Sundays and at peak times is open daily. Check the hours here.
*Ledaal - Ledaal is a mansion and royal residence built in 1799.  Originally built as a summer residence, it's now a museum as well as a royal residence and is occasionally used for official functions.  This is set to be our next field trip with the PWC.
Open Sundays mid-August to mid-June 11:00-16:00
Open daily June 15-August 15 11:00-16:00
*Breidablikk- Often visited when touring Ledaal because of their close proximity, this is a former shipowner's residence.  Apparently quite well-preserved it provides insight into home life in Norway in the 1800s.
Closed January-June 15
Open daily June 15-August 15 11:00-16:00
Open Sundays August 16-December 31 11:00-16:00

*The Norwegian Printing Museum - Stay tuned for a blog post on this one - it's tied for a favourite with the Canning Museum.  This is a must for anyone interested in typography and printing presses.  Many of the machines are in working order and it's quite amazing to see the intricacies that made a newspaper and labels early in the 20th century.  Retired printing professionals keep the machines in working conditions and if you're lucky to catch them on special occasions or tours, they'll demonstrate how they work.
Open Sundays January 1-June 14 11:00-16:00
Open daily June 15-August 15
Closed August 16-December 31
*Stavanger School Museum - This one is only open under special arrangements but is located in a former school and focuses on, you guessed it, school history.
Rogaland War Historical Museum - Originally a privately owned collection of World War II memorabilia, it's now a museum housed in former Nazi camp near Sola airport.  The exhibit is in Norwegian but it's worth it to try to arrange a guided tour in English to see Stavanger's role in WWII as well as life under the occupation.
Open Sundays 12:00-16:00 May-November
Via Visit Norway
Norwegian Petroleum Museum - This is probably Stavanger's most popular museum.  It sits right on the water downtown and is really quite an impressive exhibit.  Beginning with general history as to where oil comes from, it goes on to show Norway's oil & gas history, then breaking down the process of offshore drilling and finally, it looks at environmental impacts.  The best part of this museum is how interactive it is - to scale offshore platforms allow you a close up look, interactive touch screen displays, a 3D movie theatre and you can try your hand at a few drilling tasks.  There's also a really great restaurant housed right in the museum building but it can get busy, particularly for dinner.
Open daily 10:00-19:00 June 1-August 31
Monday-Saturday 10:00-16:00 September 1-May 31
Sunday 10:00-18:00 September 1-May 31
Museum of Archaeology - As one might guess, the museum of archaeology has some really, really old artifacts in it.  It traces back life in Rogaland to the Bronze Age and really offers a glimpse into how Norway has progressed into the modern world.
September 1- May 31 Tuesdays 11:00-20:00, Wednesday-Saturday 11:00-15:00, Sunday 11:00-16:00
June 1- August 31 Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday-Sunday 11:00-17:00

Joe has been a bit jealous as of late because I seem to do all of the exploring while he's at work so I've started going back to the museums with him on the weekends.  It's something we need to remind ourselves to do on those rainy days.

+Those marked with an * are part of the MUST group.  You can buy yearly passes which are worth the cost if you plan on visiting most of the museums.
+Tourists can also purchase the Fjord Pass which offers discounts on many museums all over Norway (in addition to discounts on hotels, rental cars and other activities.)
+Operating hours are drastically reduced outside of high season here so it's in your best interest to double check before you plan your trip.
+The Canning Museum & Printing Museum are best seen on a guided tour - check out when they're scheduled and if it's during low season, ask at the counter as sometimes they're happy to take you around on your own.


  1. oh I can't wait to hear more about the printing museum! and I checked out the Monastery's website - I know almost nothing about Christianity in the north of Europe (my studies all focused on western Europe) and I'd love to learn about the differences.

  2. I think I would have enjoyed some of these quite a bit (the printing museum especially). Frankly, I'm quite amazed at the number of museums on offer. My interest for Norway has officially been resuscitated.

  3. Can't believe I haven't been to any of these...I intended to see some but am way too lazy...


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