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01.03.2020

West Norway Museum of Decorative Art

The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art (Norwegian: Vestlandske kunstindustrimuseum) was established in 1887 at the initiative of Johan Bøgh. In 1896 the museum moved into a permanent exhibition building, a Renaissance Revival structure designed by Henry Bucher (1864–1944). The building caught fire during the 1916 Bergen fire but was saved.

The collections include older local works in silver, furniture, glass, porcelain, and textiles. Upon its opening, the museum received substantial donations from the merchant Christian Sundt.

During the first years, the Bergen Art Gallery occupied the top floor. The collection was then moved from there to the former power plant building (Norwegian: Lysverksbygget) after it became available. The Fisheries Museum also occupied the ground floor.

After merging with Bergen Art Museum, the museum has been a venue for more temporary exhibitions. Its emphasis remains on crafts from the past 500 years, and also its Chinese Collection, a unique assembly of Chinese art. This is mostly a bequest from Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe (1864–1935), who lived in China from age 22 until his death in 1935.

The museum was also responsible for the Alvøen site and Damsgård Manor, but this has now been taken over by the new Bergen City Museum.

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