The building of a new Museum of the Viking Age in Oslo has officially begun
Ola Borten Moe, Minister of Research and Higher Education in Norway, did the honours of putting the first shovel – or rather excavator – in the ground.
Tuesday this week marked the official beginning of building a new Museum of the Viking Age in Oslo.
Work to secure the collection and the Viking Ships has been ongoing for several years, and all the ships have been placed in secure 40 tonne steel rigs on site – where they will remain for the entirety of construction.
“I’m very happy that the construction of the new Musum of the Viking Age has now started. Securing this cultural treasure from the Viking Age is of highest priority. This is important for Norway as a cultural nation,” Ola Borten Moe, Minister of Research and Higher Education said in a press release.
Borten Moe was on site behind the levers of an excavator for the official groundbreaking ceremony.
The new museum will be built around the old one, and vibrations from the construction will be constantly monitored so as not to damage the Viking ships.
Anybody operating machines on the ground will be equipped with movement sensors that will give warnings if the machine in question is creating more vibration than the ships can handle.
“This is a construction project with enormous concrete workings, spectacular architecture and very strict demands on environment, indoor climate and securing of very fragile items,” Marius Tunstad, director of the construction from the Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property said in the press release.
Downscaled due to costs
Archaeologists were so worried that a new Museum of the Viking Age in Oslo wouldn’t materialize, when said minister Borten Moe put a halt on the funding last year – that they started a petition to save the Viking ships.
But money was at last put back on the table – though less than what was needed to fulfill the original plans.
A restaurant which included outdoor service was cut and replaced with a kiosk, according to national newspaper Aftenposten. An auditorium for lectures and viewings of movies, an area for educating schools on visits and a museum shop were also cut from the original plan in order to save costs.
According to Aftenposten, the idea is that structures that have been cut from the current project may be built at a later stage. At which point it will likely cost more than if all of it had been built at the same time, the newspaper points out.
Nevertheless, the new museum will be a world attraction giving live audiences a unique opportunity to experience the world’s best preserved Viking ships.
Construction is scheduled to be done in 2026, and the museum is expected to open its new doors the following year.