The long-awaited moving process from Oslo’s old Munch Museum to the brand-new museum simply called “MUNCH” is about to get underway. After lengthy delays, not all of them Corona-related, the new museum will finally open to the public this fall.
“This represents a major milestone in Munch’s history,” Svein Olav Henrichsen, director of the Munch museum, told news bureau NTB. He could, on behalf of Munchmuseet i Oslo, formally take possession earlier this month of the new high-rise building on Oslo’s eastern waterfront from the City of Oslo. The city helped finance and oversaw construction of the new building that will house the extensive collection of Edvard Munch’s paintings, graphics and other treasures that the artist himself willed to the city upon his death in 1944.
Henrichsen said he was both proud and glad that he and his 150 colleagues could finally proceed with preparations for the move and an opening. He called the takeover and actual move from the old museum in Oslo’s Tøyen district “an important step on the way to our goal of opening a new, large and fantastic museum building for the public.”
The Corona crisis postponed last year’s planned opening but it was also delayed by problems with both its advanced indoor climate system and delivery of various fire- and security doors. Norway’s new National Museum, which has also been under construction for several years, has also had delivery problems and won’t open until sometime next year.
The new MUNCH will soon start receiving around 28,000 works of Munch’s art plus the large Stenersen collection of art that also was willed to the city. The Stenersen collection had been located in a rented venue underneath the Oslo Concert House in Vika, but has been stored away for years after the city decided to place it in the new Munch museum.
The new museum has cost around NOK 3 billion to build. It’s located just behind Norway’s national Opera House, with its top four floors set at an angle making it look like its bowing to the Opera.
In addition to featuring the world’s largest collection of Munch’s art it will also feature meeting rooms, terraces, cafés and a restaurant on its top floor with new views over Oslo and down the Oslo Fjord.
“When we open for the public we’ll have a proper celebration for everyone who wants to honour our great artist and the museum,” Henrichsen said. The ongoing Corona crisis still poses a degree of uncertainty but plans call for a “rea” opening with the public in attendance. Henrichsen said there will also be a digital opening regardless: “This is an international event, and we have detected large international interest.”