New curators work for closer cooperation between Sortland and Øksnes

16 December 2023

Since spring 2023, the position of curator in Museum Nord with main responsibility for Øksnes has been open. Now it’s settled: Julie Beck Gjellesvik will step into the permanent position from 01.11.2023!

Julie started in a temporary position for the unit manager at Øksnes museum in 2022, and has later worked as a curator at Sortland museum before being offered the permanent position at Øksnes. At the same time, Ingeborg Nordahl, former mediator at Sortland Museum, has stepped into the role as curator at Sortland as a three-year substitute.

Portrait of Julie Beck Gjellesvik and Ingeborg Nordahl at the Hurtigrute museum.
Julie Beck Gjellesvik (left) and Ingeborg Nordahl. Photo: Museum Nord.

Both Julie and Ingeborg are very involved in the museums’ events. Christmas is approaching, and the first task for the new curators was the well-known and beloved “Christmas in the Old Days”!

Over two hundred school starters and 1st graders visited the museums. Here the children learned about Christmas traditions in the past and associated them with their own. Why do we bake so much for Christmas? Why did they use to hang apples on trees? Do today’s kids know what it means to go “julebukk”? Last, but not least: What is the similarity between the elf on a shelf and a fjøsnisse (“barn elf”)?

The main living room of the Alsvåg farm house, decorated for Christmas.
Old fashioned holiday cheer at the old Alsvåg farm house. Photo: Museum Nord.
An adult and a child (both in holiday sweaters) holding a super long Christmas paper ornament made by a group of visitors.
Super long Christmas paper ornament! Made by a group of visitors. Photo: Museum Nord.

Then the children make their own Christmas decorations based on old traditions, namely the classic paper ornaments and that were often hung on the trees. Maybe they’ll also get some glimpses of the enigmatic and shy barn elf?

Many children stand outside Alsvåggården and look at a barn Santa standing in the doorway.
A group of children visiting the mysterious barn elf at Øksnes museum. Photo: Museum Nord.

The event has a long history for children in Øksnes and Bø, but this is the second year in a row that it is carried out in a new form as a collaboration with Sortland museum. The program is implemented for both municipalities with resources from both museums, which ensures that the program is better and easier to implement. And last, but not least, that more children get the opportunity to participate.

Cooperation between Sortland Museum and Øksnes Museum has become more and more important, where two relatively small museums can get even better events, exhibitions and more.

The last group visited Øksnes Museum on December 15th. Thus, the barn elf is taking a well-deserved vacation!

Dim-lit room with a staircase. Peeking out from the corner of the staircase is a white-bearded barn elf wearing a red knitted hat, glasses and leather mittens. He's holding a lantern. Overall he looks friendly.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the barn elf! Photo: Museum Nord.

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