30 November 2023
Many people probably wonder what SKREI really is, what it will become, where it will come, who are the parties that cooperate and when will it all open. We tried to answer this question during the open information meeting held on Wednesday 29 November at Arbeider’n in Kabelvåg. There was a large turnout and enthusiasm for SKREI.
The interest in the information meeting was very good, with around 100 audience members attending. Thanks to everyone who came and was with us for almost 2 hours!
Project Manager for SKREI, Jens-Henrik Andersen, led us through the meeting. Director of Museum Nord, Geir Are Johansen, together with the project manager, gave a nice introduction for the evening. We heard about Geir Are’s first encounter with archaeology – it happened in Storvågan and led him to eventually train as an archaeologist. The director also talked a little about the necessity of and gratitude for the strong cooperation Vågan municipality, Skrei Eiendom as and Museum Nord have around the establishment of SKREI.
So what exactly is skrei?
SKREI will, in short terms, become a place, a center of knowledge and experiences, an attraction, that tells about what is perhaps Norway’s most important fish – the cod. The importance of the Lofoten fishery for Lofoten as well as for Norway will be communicated. The story will be told through different methods and in different perspectives. It will be about cultural history, about life in the sea, about art, about the past, present and future. SKREI is about the great “Storvågan experience” and will eventually accommodate both the Lofoten Aquarium, the Lofoten Museum and Gallery Espolin – in addition to the newly built Otolith. SKREI will be located in Storvågan, Kabelvåg – the hotbed of the stockfish trade.
SKREI will consist of a large new building, Otolitten. This will house a large main exhibition, café, museum shop, magazines and offices. In addition, the existing attractions Lofoten Museum, Gallery Espolin and the Lofoten Aquarium are parts of SKREI. Guests will get a “total experience” of Storvågan by visiting SKREI. The different places in SKREI will tell different parts of the story, in different ways. The otolith is planned to be built in 2025, SKREI will open in 2026.
Content and exhibitions
Department Director for Museum Nord Dept. Vågan, Svein Ingvoll Pedersen, gave us insight into the work of creating a brand new, large exhibition, who are the collaborating parties and some of the issues that one encounters in such a work. It is the award-winning Swedish company Expology AB that will “stitch together” the content of the exhibition. There is a strong focus on the exhibition telling about cultural history, the past and the future in an exciting and for the audience engaging way. Through illustrations, we got to see moods to be created. We were also given an introduction to which topics will be touched upon in the new “main exhibition”.
Research and research collaboration
SKREI Reasearch Center is one of the “tools” Museum Nord uses to create, collect and sort knowledge for the exhibitions.
Project manager Jonas Walsøe talked about what SRC does; that the project will contribute to creating exciting and relevant content in the exhibitions. SCR gathers knowledge from both national and international researchers, as well as from industry actors in the fisheries. Among other things, Jonas said that almost wherever he turns for help and contributions, he is met with open doors – and often comments about how incredibly important the work of creating SKREI is.
Who are the parties to the work? How is the financing doing?
SKREI is realised by Vågan municipality through the real estate company Skrei Eiendom as and Museum Nord. Museum Nord is the project owner and the person who has been awarded the funds. Skrei Eiendom lists and operates the buildings that Museum Nord/SKREI will eventually rent.
Vågan municipality is a strong party in the work, and has given great values to the project in the form of land/properties. Nordland County Council and the Ministry of Culture and Equality have contributed large financial grants. In addition, the project has received gifts of 1too many millions from private donors. The total cost framework is NOK 583 million.
SKREI is created in two “stages”. The first stage, which includes the construction of the Otolith, is fully financed. Stage two still lacks funding, which is being worked hard to put in place. Museum Nord operates Lofotr Viking Museum and Hurtigruten Museum on the same model; with an owner of buildings that Museum Nord pays rent to for use.
Skrei Eiendom as is wholly owned by Vågan municipality. At the information meeting, general manager Vågard Erdahl Nyaas was present (Erdahl Nyaas is unit manager for the ownership unit in Vågan municipality) and briefed about Skrei Eiendom as and, not least, the important and good promise the company is taking to make SKREI the greenest possible project. The otolith will be erected on the site of the former Våganheimen. There, older buildings must be demolished. A large part of the materials that are demolished are used for reuse – for the benefit and benefit of the inhabitants. You can read more about the case here – that we who live here have been able to report our interest in taking over roof tiles, glulam beams and construction timber, among other things. A great many have expressed interest in precisely this.
Meeting with author and historian ÅSa Elstad
Before all the information about SKREI started, we got to join Åsa Elstad for a half-hour historical tour of clothing and clothing customs. Åsa is currently out with a new book, “Threads from the past” (Museumsforlaget). The book has received a warm welcome! Åsa Elstad is a historian, author and co-author of a number of works on coastal culture and is a knowledgeable person with great storytelling pleasure. Based on archaeological finds, documents, photos and artefacts, Åsa focused on textile use that is particularly relevant knowledge about coastal culture and the Lofoten fishery. We heard about hats, laughing boots and lugs, beautiful ryes, status garments and much, much more. It is thought-provoking and impressive how much effort the women put in to ensure that the men could travel on the Lofoten fishery.
We thank you for the great attendance and enthusiasm – for all the good feedback, for all the good wishes that SKREI receives, and for the good cooperation with many parties. Thanks also to Arbeidern for the great venue!