The Historical Museum is a museum building on Tullinlekka Street in central Oslo with the main entrance to Fredericks Gate. The building was opened to the public in 1904.
The Historical Museum has never been its own museum organization, but it was a joint building for three university museums: the old university collection (with the Viking ship's house), a coin cabinet and an ethnographic museum. In 1999, the three were merged into one organization: the University Museums of Cultural History (UKM). In 2004, the name was changed to Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo.
The first History Museum in Christiania was founded in 1811. The Norwegian Well Society initiated the creation of the Norwegian Antique Museum and encouraged anyone who owned or found antiquities to send them to this organization, not to Copenhagen as they were in fact. The first collection was created in the Cathedral school of Christianity, where in 1780 Karl Deichmann has already donated his collection of Antiques, coins and minerals. In 1811 the Royal Frederick University was founded, and in 1817 the Norwegian Welfare Society offered to transfer its collections to the University.
It was not until 1828, however, that the university was able to offer the museum a room in the courtyard of the university at Princeens Gate. In 1829 Rudolf Keiser opened the first Nordic Oldsager collection to the public, and in 1835 the first exhibition came to the Mint. In the autumn of 1817 the museum acquired 6300 Greek and Roman coins, which formed the basis of the collection. They were purchased by George Sverdrup, the first professor of Greek at the university.
The building itself is in Art Nouveau style. It was architect Charles August Henriksen who first won the competition for who should draw it. He died, however, in 1892, just after he finished drawing, and Henrik Bull, who also painted the Ministry of Finance and the National Theatre, came into possession. The bull largely followed Henriksen's drawings, but changed the stairs and corners of the building. The building was preserved in 2014.
On the ground floor you will find the exhibition "From Ice Age to Kvitekrist". It is a permanent exhibition with objects that tell about the life and work of people in Norway from the Stone Age to the Viking Age. The Treasury is also on this floor. It is a permanent exhibition of gold and silver treasures from all over the country and all eras. Also on the ground floor is a medieval exhibition, which was designed by Sverre Fenom in 1979. It is mainly an exhibition of church art, where you will find a card ceiling from the Ole wooden church of the 1300s.
On the second floor of the museum there are ethnographic exhibitions and an office of the mint. There is also an antique collection of the museum with exhibits from Greece and the Roman Empire. The ethnographic collections consist of an exhibition dedicated to indigenous people in the polar regions and South and North America. The Mint shows a Norwegian coin from 1000 years ago.
The third floor of the museum is dedicated to special exhibitions and African cultures. The African exhibition is built on different themes with objects from different countries. There are two halls for special exhibitions on the floor. Every year from two to four exhibitions are held on different topics.
On the fourth floor there is an exhibition from East Asia and Japan, China and Korea. Here you can see Chinese imperial thrones, Japanese wedding chair, traditions of samurai arms and armor, as well as Buddha figures.