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The Museum of Cultural History focuses on the period from the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago) until the end of the Middle Ages. The earliest period is covered by archaeological findings. Lots of objects from the Viking age are also exhibited; the weapons, ornaments and different tools give an impression of the Vikings' days of prosperity. This museum is home to the Historical Museum, and it also manages the Vikings Ship Museum, both reflect Norway's glorious past. During the year there are also two or three temporary exhibitions.
The building, housing a humongous collection of artifacts reflecting Norway's history during the medieval and pre-historic ages, is internationally known as one of Norway's best examples of Jugend or Art Nouveau architecture. The museum houses galleries on ethnographic findings, antiques, mummies and coins. Each section will give you a new perspective on a different aspect of Norwegian culture. If you have an Oslo pass then admission is free.
Nestled in Oslo's southeastern frontier that overlooks the azure waters of the Pipervika, the Nobel Peace Center seeks to create a lasting legacy for the prize laureates beyond ceremonial award function. Inaugurated by the king of Norway Harald V in the year 2005, the center occupies a historic train station with a beautiful facade. Interactive exhibits and innovative use of technology characterize the center's temporary exhibitions persuading visitors to contemplate on a slew of topics related to ideas of war and peace. At the heart of the center is The Nobel Field, a striking permanent installation that is a beautiful tribute to all the Nobel laureates and their stories. Other prominent highlights include the Magical Book, which offers an intriguing insight into the life of Alfred Nobel, and The Peace Cloud, an installation that pays tribute to all the laureates thus far.
Naturhistorisk Museum is one of several museums located within the Botanical Gardens. A ten-meter (33-foot) skeleton of the dinosaur Iguanodon bids you welcome when you enter. This museum offers permanent exhibitions on four to 500 million year-old fossils from the Oslo area, as well as copies of dinosaur footprints from Spitsbergen. On the first floor there is a saurian exhibition. Drop by in their gift store to check their selection of books and garden plants.
Kon-Tiki Museum focuses on explorer and scientist Thor Heyerdahl's amazing expeditions all over the world. In addition to the original Kon-Tiki raft, the museum contains vessels like Ra II, a model of the Tigris and countless relics from Heyerdahl's expeditions. A cinema hall here shows films about Heyerdahl's scientific research; there is also a multimedia program. Various exhibitions at the museum include an underwater exhibition featuring a giant whale-shark, a cave tour and a display of rare kinds of boats.
Norsk Folkemuseum, the open-air museum that has been giving visitors a peek into a life-sized past for over a century, contains more than 150 authentic buildings from different regions. The buildings date from as far back as medieval times, including the 13th-century Gol Stave Church. The permanent exhibition features sections on handicrafts, traditional clothing and the culture of the Sami people. A souvenir shop, cafe and restaurant are located on the grounds.
The brainchild of Professor Gustafson, the Viking Ship Museum or as the locals call it Vikingskipshuset, was established after a considerable number of ancient ship wrecks and archaeological findings were discovered at the legendary Nordic burial sites of Tune, Gokstad, Oseberg, and Borre during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. The museum's talking point is definitively the magnificent Oseberg Ship, which was excavated in its entirety, making it extremely rare. Two more Viking ship remains apart from Oseberg form the focal point of the museum. Other things to look out for include art and artifacts from the Viking age, most of which were found as part of the wreckage. An on-site shop offers attractive souvenirs and books.