The Museum of the year is …

22 April 2024

First of all – Museum Nord congratulates Jektefartsmuseet (a museum at Nordlandsmuseet) with the award as “Museum of the Year 2024”!!

We are incredibly proud that the Hurtigruten Museum was nominated as one of 3 museums in 2024. The prize was awarded on Monday 22 April by Minister of Culture and Equality Lubna Jaffery during the National Museum Meeting that took place in Bodø.

Chairman Randi Melgaard, together with Director Geir Are Johansen, received a diploma for the important nomination together with Department Director Museum Nord Vesterålen, Brynjar Pettersen.

Read the Norwegian Museum Association’s press release about the award ceremony and read more about Museum of the Year 2024 below. The aim of the prize is to recognise good museum work and to inspire museums to innovative and innovative activities of high quality.

Jektefartsmuseet in Bodø, the Hurtigruten Museum at Stokmarknes and Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen. Three museums that all have addresses “Nordaførr”/”up north” and all of whom have in common that they are closely linked to enthusiasts who have not given up on dry muck.”

Norges Museumsforbund about the nominees 2024.
The Hurtigruten Museum – a strong collaboration

The Hurtigruten Museum is a collaboration between Hadsel Municipality, the Norwegian Hurtigruten Museum Foundation and Museum Nord. The strong commitment of all parties has made the museum possible – a collaboration that stands in respect and which has yielded great, good results.

The Hurtigruten Museum with the encased ms Finnmarked (1956). Photo: Aliz Fulop/Museum Nord
Hurtigruten museum – A quick glance back

The museum as it stands today was opened on 28 August 2021 by the then Minister of Culture and Equality, Abid Raja. The public has received the museum very well, with a high visitor number and good feedback. Skilled employees at Museum Nord, and of course especially those directly connected to the Hurtigruten Museum, work every single day to create good experiences for guests by telling the story through various initiatives. The Norwegian Hurtigruten Museum Foundation has acquired and maintains ms Finnmarken – a gigantic work that can hardly be described in words. Museum Nord is grateful for this important and good cooperation.

Before the opening of the “new” Hurtigruten Museum, the museum has been in different premises and had different modes of operation. The museum, in its earliest form, was opened by the then Minister of Transport K. Opseth on 2 July 1993. The museum is currently run by Museum Nord, open all year. Welcome aboard!

The photo shows the minister of Culture, Abid Raja, after the official opening of The Hurtigruten Museum. This truly was a festive day in Stokmarknes, with market, bands and lots of people in the streets. Photo: Eldar Syvertsen.

The nominees for Museum of the Year 2024

Every year, the Norwegian Museum Association awards the coveted “Museum of the Year” prize. 3 museums are nominated, based on carefully considered criteria. In 2024, a freighter, a retired Hurtigruten and the story of an archipelago in the Arctic were nominated.

We borrow the words of the Norwegian Museum Association, as they presented the nominations:

Jektefartsmuseet in Bodø, the Hurtigruten Museum at Stokmarknes and Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen. Three museums that all have addresses “Nordaførr”/”up north” and all of which have in common that they are closely linked to enthusiasts who have not given up on their struggle towards taking care of history. 

The three museums each tell fascinating parts of Norwegian maritime history, which together provide a picture of how Norway are bound together. Both the jekta Anna Karoline and the Hurtigruten ship Finnmarken are tangible proof of the importance of mastering the coast and the sea. For centuries the stretch was Bergen – Kirkenes the only national road between north and south in Norway.? For import and export of goods, people and mail. Trade stimulated hunting, gathering and fishing, developed industries, settlement and all what we today call a coastal culture that literally arose in the wake of a “robust” small freighter and a relatively modest express voyage.


In Svalbard, the story also starts with the desire to master the sea as part of exploring the world’s outermost borders. The museum’s role is to convey the importance of the great outdoors.? The significance for adventurers heading for the North Pole or shipowners looking for the sea route through northeastern or northwestern waters. For trappers, “coal diggers”, and the inhabitants of the archipelago. For scientists who use Svalbard to measure the Earth’s climate trend. The Svalbard Museum of Nature and Cultural History opened in 1982. In an old pig barn. In 2006 they became part of Svalbard’s modern research park. Today, the museum has 12 employees, and a unique collection of objects that is actively researched, and thus responds to the museum’s political role in strengthening Norway’s position in the international Arctic. 


In 2019, Jektefartsmuseet opened, in the shoreline rocks outside Bodø. After seventy years of hard work to ensure a long life for a unique cultural monument – there is Anna Karoline now. With topsail and mainsail, the ship now plays the leading role in a museum that has also become a friendly meeting place for visitors and locals alike. 


Two years later, in 2021 opened the Hurtigruten Museum with MS Finnmarken in a glass house, on the Hurtigruten quay in Stokmarknes. At the place where the southbound and northbound Hurtigruten still docks once a day, and precisely where the story of Hurtigruten started in 1893, after Vesteraalens? Dampskibsselskap was granted a licence for the year-round transport of goods, mail and passengers between Bergen and Kirkenes.

The idea of turning an eighty-meter-long ship into a giant museum object originated in 1980 – and the rest is a story about the driving force of enthusiast’s grit and will of steel.”

Previous winners

“Museum of the Year” has been awarded since 1997. A list of previous winners can be found on the Norwegian Museum Association’s website. Congratulations!

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