13 Best Museums in Oslo, Norway
I’m going to be honest here. I’m not usually a museum person when we travel. Usually, I’d rather be out in the city soaking in the culture or out in the wilderness seeing amazing views. But when we went to Oslo, Norway, I was really blown away by how much I loved the museums there! In fact, some of these museums were my favorite things we did in Oslo. If you’re planning a trip to Norway, here are the best museums in Oslo to visit!
Should I Get the Oslo Pass?
Depending on how long you are staying in Oslo, you might considering getting the Oslo Pass. This is a pass marketed to visitors that allows you free admission into most local museums and attractions as well as free transportation around Oslo.
You’ll definitely want to do your calculations to see if the Oslo Pass is worth it for your trip. On our trip, we decided to get the Oslo Pass. Generally, the cost of museums vs. the cost of the Oslo Pass was about the same. But what really tipped our decision toward getting the pass was the free transportation. This definitely saved us some money!
Map of the Best Museums in Oslo
To help you get the lay of the land, here is a map of where the best museums in Oslo are located. Use the button in the top left corner to view each museum.
Best Museums in Oslo
Here are what I think are the best museums in Olso! I didn’t necessarily rank them here, but rather tried to group them by location.
However, if you want to know my personal top few museums, it would be the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Fram Museum, and MUNCH. These are the museums I would definitely make the biggest point to see on a trip to Oslo!
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum)
Some of the best museums in Oslo are on the Bygdøy Peninsula, which is just outside the city center. You can easily take a bus or even a boat to get there from multiple places within Oslo.
The first museum you’ll come to on the Bygdøy Peninsula is the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, which was by far one of my favorite museums in Olso!
This is an outdoor, open-air museum all about Norway’s history. It has 160 historic buildings on the museum property, including houses you can go inside of, apartment buildings decorated from different decades in the past century, and the Gol Stave Church.
And while much of the museum is open air, there are also several indoor exhibits about Norway’s history and culture.
If you’re traveling with kids, this is a perfect Olso museum to visit. They’ll love all the open space to run around in and the farm animals you can see. Plus, if you visit on the weekend they have special activities kids will love, like fairytale stories and doing old-fashioned chores.
Viking Ship Museum
Note: The Viking Ship Museum is currently closed for renovation. It will reopen as the Museum of the Viking Age in 2026.
The Viking Ship Museum, also on the Bygdøy Peninsula, has long been one of Oslo’s most popular museums. The main things to see there were three Viking ships on display. The museum is currently closed, but when it reopens in 2026 as the Museum of the Viking Age, it will display not just the favorite Viking ships, but also more information about and objects from the Vikings.
Also on the Bygdøy Peninsula, the Fram Museum highlights Polar exploration and displays the huge Fram ship! In fact, the triangle building of the museum was built specifically around the ship.
Here you can climb about the Fram and learn what made it so unique and able to withstand the pressures of ice. I especially loved how they had screens projecting water around the ship, so if you stood just right you could almost imagine you were sailing through the Arctic. There are also lots of displays around the perimeter of the building telling the history of Polar exploration.
There are also some fun interactive activities here that kids will love, like the sub-zero room and the chance to explore an igloo.
This was really a favorite museum for us and definitely one I wouldn’t miss on a trip to Olso!
The Kon-Tiki Museum is right across the street from the Fram Museum, which makes visiting them both in one morning or afternoon very easy. (I recommend just planning to spend a whole day at the Bygdøy Peninsula exploring the museums!).
It’s a small museum, but the story it tells is so fascinating! In the 1940s, Thor Heyerdahl wanted to prove that it was possible the South Pacific could have populated by South Americans. He built a balsawood raft exactly like ancient South American’s would have and took a group to sail across the Pacific on it.
It is truly amazing that they made it! So many people believed the boat would break apart within weeks, but the balsawood was soft enough that the ropes wore grooves in the wood instead of the friction of the wood destroying the ropes.
In addition to the Kon-Tiki, you can also see the Ra II, another boat Heyerdahl built to sail across the Atlantic. There is also a short film you can watch on the Kon-Tiki. And if you’re traveling with kids, the display along the wall telling the story of the Kon-Tiki also has a kid-friendly version at their eye level, which we loved!
Akershus Fortress and Akershus Castle were built in the late 1200s. It’s been used as a fortress but also as a royal residence, and today it is still used for some official events, like state dinners. You can also visit the museum part of the castle (and see some of the rooms still used today!).
At Akershus Castle, you can tour rooms, banquet halls, and a church. It’s a really great Norwegian Castle to visit and gives you a feel for what living in medieval Norway must have been like while also showing the way Norway progressed through the ages. There are also some unique things to see here, like the Royal Mausoleum, where several Norwegian royals are buried.
Norway’s Resistance Museum
Norway’s Resistance Museum is a small museum located within Akershus Fortress. It is dedicated to telling the story of Norway’s occupation and resistance during WWII.
You’ll find everything here from photographs during the occupation to newspapers to household and military objects. If you are interested in military or WWII history, definitely add this museum to your must-visit list. But remember this is a small museum in Norway, so signage in English may be limited.
MUNCH (Munchmuseet) is one of Oslo’s newer museums. It opened in 2021 and features the art of Edvard Munch, most famous for his paintings of The Scream.
If you want to see The Scream this is a great place to go. The Scream actually isn’t just one painting. It’s a set of many motifs, and this museum will always have one on display. The version on display rotates though to limit the light exposure each one gets. However, the most famous version of The Scream is found at the National Museum down the road.
But this museum offers SO much more than that! First of all, it’s in a beautiful building that has amazing views of the city.
And while a lot of the gallery space is dedicated to artwork by Munch, you’ll also find a lot more to do and see. The museum has gallery spaces featuring other artists and collections, rotating play experiences for kids, and a restaurant that overlooks Olso.
If you are traveling to Oslo with kids, I think this is probably the best art museum you can go to. Not only do they usually have an exhibit dedicated especially to kids, but each gallery space has special kids activities. In the main Munch display area you’ll find peepholes with miniature scenes for kids to find, and there is a display about Munch’s life with all kinds of interactive elements.
The National Museum
The National Museum has recently been redesigned and reopened in 2022. This museum features art from Norwegian artists and artists around the world, including paintings, clothing, sculpture, and more.
And if you can’t get to MUNCH, there is of course a room dedicated to Edvard Munch here. This is where you’ll find the most recognizable version of The Scream.
If you’re traveling with kids, there are great activities for kids here too. There are children’s activities scattered throughout the main exhibit (“The Collection”) and they have a Fairytale Room just to inspire kids’ imaginations.
Nobel Peace Center
Of course, one of the things Oslo is most known for is being where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year. You can visit the Nobel Peace Center where you can learn more about the history of the prize and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
The Nobel Peace Center also hosts regular events about politics, current events, and those working toward peace around the world.
Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Astrup Fearnley is a gallery of contemporary art located right on the fjord in the neighborhood of Tjuvholmen, across the fjord from Akershus. There are two buildings at this museum, one featuring rotating exhibits and the other featuring selections form the Astrup Fearnley Collection.
While art is of course the main focus here, the architecture of the building is something to see as well! The building was designed by Renzo Piano, the same architect who designed The Whitney in NYC. It’s a modern, wooden design that is worth seeing and of itself.
You’ll also find the Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park nearby, which is a great place to get outside and admire both art and nature.
This is a great place to go if you love contemporary art and architecture. However, while they do offer workshops and experiences for kids, this wouldn’t be my first choice of a museum to take my young kids to.
Vigeland Sculpture Park & Vigeland Museum
Vigeland Sculpture Park, located is Oslo’s Frogner Park, is probably one of the city’s most photographed places. This is a large FREE outdoor museum where you can view sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. The most notable pieces are the Monolith, the Bridge, and the Fountain.
Besides being free, one great thing about this “museum” is that it’s always open because it is in a public park.
However, if you want to go even more in depth, there is a small museum, The Vigeland Museum, nearby that you can pay to enter. Here you can see more of Vigeland’s work as well as work by other artists.
Museum of Oslo
In Frogner Park, you’ll also find the Museum of Oslo. This museum recounts the history of Oslo, from the medieval period to the modern day.
Exhibits range from “OsLove” about the history of Oslo and the people who created the city to an exhibit about life during WWII. They also have rotating exhibits. For example, in 2023, they include a display of Oslo seen through the eyes of artists and an exhibit about the 2020 protests Olso saw after the murder of George Floyd in the United States.
This is a great museum to go to if you specifically want to learn more about the history of the city of Oslo.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum
Note: The Holmenkollen Ski Museum is closed for renovations until the end of 2023.
If you want to get outside the city a bit, you can head to the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. To get there, you can take the train from Oslo to Holmenkollen. Then you’ll have to walk uphill about 10 minutes to get to the museum. It’s definitely doable, but be prepared for a small hike getting there.
The museum is totally worth it though! Inside the museum, you’ll learn all about the history of skiing, and they have displays of skis and the Holmenkollen ski jump throughout the ages.
But of course the most notable thing to do here is to go to the top of the ski jump. An elevator will take you up, and from the top you have incredible views of the Oslo area. If you’re feeling brave, you can also book a ziplining experience from the top of the ski jump!
And if you’re traveling with kids, this museum has an amazing indoor play area. It is an absolutely adorable room with a ski jump slide, cozy play houses, and toadstool tables. Honestly, it was probably the most adorable play area I’ve ever seen.
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