Museum project gets final funding

The government promises funding for final restoration of the University Museum.

Rector Dag Rune Olsen and minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen
A PROMISE OF FUNDING: – The museum is an icon in Bergen and an important national collection. We can't live with the fact that it will be closed for long, says minister of education and research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (right) to rector Dag Rune Olsen.
Walter Wehus

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“This is a day we have been waiting for. We are glad that the government of Norway has found the means to fund the completion of the Museum Project,” says Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of the University of Bergen (UiB).

In the next state budget, the Norwegian government has decided to fund the start of the further rehabilitation of the Natural History Museum at UiB. The announcement was made 3 September 2015 at a special event outside the museum.

"The museum is an icon in Bergen and the collections are of national importance. We cannot live with the fact that it will be closed for a long time," said Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, minister of education and research.

“This will mean a lot to the children, who will be able to experience the Natural History Museum again. The museum is part of the soul of Bergen, and plays an important part in piquing the interest and the curiosity of children,” says Olsen.


Museum closed since 2013

In May 2013, the University Museum of Bergen received funds for the first part of the rehabilitation project. This was funding that turned the south wing, with its offices and storage facilities, into a university hall. When the University Museum closed its doors for rehabilitation in 2013, the museum building was in such a poor state that the collections were under threat from damage. The collections were moved into storage during the rehabilitation of the hall.

There was as grand opening for the new assembly hall on 2 September 2015.


Hopes of reopening in 2019

“We are very happy, excited and relieved,” says the University Museum of Bergen’s director Henrik von Achen.

He hopes that the cooperation and knowledge acquired from the work on the University Hall can be transferred to the next phase of the Museum Project. If so, he estimates that the museum may reopen in 2019.

“In any case, we will open again as soon as possible. Constructing the new hall required ripping out large parts of the interior. The rehabilitation of the remaining parts of the building will entail a more minor and detailed approach,” says von Achen.

Von Achen adds that knowing that an upgraded Museum will be in place in a short while will be paramount for the future work at the museum.