Roald Amundsen Bust & The Polar Museum, Tromso

Welcome to “Art, Culture & Books” with me Anthony King. Today I’ll be taking you to look at the 1934 Roald Amundsen bust carved by Tongsberg born Karl G. Nilssen at The Polar Museum, in Tromso, Norway. Tromso is an incredibly beautiful place and I was lucky to interview the Norwegian Prime Minister there, for my book “The Secret Norwegian”. It’s also got quite a dark side too but it’s certainly a special place right towards the top of the north of Norway. Remember to pause the video to read any longer text in full. We’ll be taking a good look around the museum.

The Polar Museum is located, alongside the sea. It consists of various buildings, each contributing to its historical environment. The permanent exhibits cover topics like sealing, overwintering, polar expeditions, and the cultural history of Svalbard. Found in the former Customs premises in Tromsø, the museum occupies the warehouse, seaside building, and Customs office building, which the Customs Service left in 1970. The Brygga, initially a Customs Service warehouse, now serves as a historical site.

We see the Overwintering exhibition, showcasing a trapper’s hut from Svalbard. Built in 1910 by fur trader Claus Andersen from Tromsø, this hut sheltered Arctic trappers during the first half of the 20th century. After hosting several trappers, the hut moved to the Norwegian Maritime Museum in 1936. We see the enduring legacy of Roald Amundsen in the permanent exhibition dedicated to the legendary explorer. Celebrated for putting Norway on the polar map, Amundsen’s expeditions marked a pivotal chapter in the nation’s history. On June 18, 1928, crowds gathered on the Tromsø quayside to witness him board the flying boat Latham for a northbound rescue mission to find a crashed airship. Unfortunately, the crew and Latham disappeared without a trace after leaving Tromsø.

The Polar Museum places a focal point on Amundsen’s final journey, presenting an engaging narrative through original objects and photographs. Including his captivating life and work in the polar regions during the early 20th century. Amundsen’s exploration achievements, including traversing the Northwest Passage, reaching the South Pole, and flying over the North Pole, firmly established Norway as a leading nation in polar exploration. Tromsø served as the launchpad for several of Amundsen’s ground-breaking expeditions.