Universitetsmuseene

I think that this is the first time that an entry in this blog has a title in Norwegian. The reason is simple: there are a couple of things I’d wish to write about my experience working at NTNU-Vitenskapsmuseet and perhaps it will reach more people if the title is in Norwegian.

In fact, in the last days two articles on the topic of financing of the University Museums in Norway have appeared both in printed press and online.

The first one I found in Klassekampen’s issue of Friday the 6th of February. With the eloquent title “Save the University Museums” and signed by the rector of the University of Oslo along with the two directors of the University Museums for Natural History and Cultural History in Oslo, the article stresses the “golden opportunity” to reconsider the financing model of these important institutions in the frame of the reshaping of the financing system of Universities and Colleges in Norway.

On Sunday the 8th of February, the rector of the University of Oslo repeated the call in his own blog, stressing the urgency by using the title “Why forget the University Museums?

I did not gain such good insight to the functioning of the University Museums after just a couple of days of work there, but there are two things that become clear for anyone who sees the museum from the inside:

1. Øylov Cyvin seemed to me as a lone rider with no real support from others when it comes to building up the display of the temporary exhibition that brought us in collaboration. Neither Yannis nor myself insisted that she should be at the museum on Saturday to complete the work that we had not finished when we left the museum at 21:00 on Friday, and nobody would ever expect that either us or her would clean up the room after the work. But there was nobody else there to do the work either…

2. Temporary exhibitions tend to remain at place for much longer than initially planned. As for the permanent exhibits, well, who remembers when was the last time that they were renovated? In Sudan, visitors and researchers were complaining that the displays had never been renewed since they were first set up in the 1960s. I bet that the archaeological exhibition at NTNU-Vitenskapsmuseet is older than that…

Of course not all things are dark. Most importantly, it is the staff of the museum that brings shining brightness to the monumental building. And the quality of the new exhibitions is very high. I very much enjoyed the exhibition on The Middle Ages in Trondheim, for its atmosphere, its well-thought paths, the objects displayed.

And it was a lovely moment when I stopped in front of two architectural spolia to photograph a pattern that seems so similar to one that we find on Sai…

pattern on spolia

…and then turning on the other side, I found an inscription in Greek letters carved on a small piece of wood!

XPS

It was an abbreviation of the name Christ, in the form XP(ICTO)C, and although – or perhaps because – it was both transcribed and described wrongly (XPS identified as a monogram), it inspired the entire blog entry that I hoped you found as interesting to read as it was to compose.

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