Fully two-thirds of Norway’s museums are struggling with electricity bills that are so high they may need to close during part of the winter. Among them is the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, which is privately owned and thus lacks state funding.
“Our electricity expenses are eating up the budget,” Liv Heyerdahl, director of the museum, told newspaper Dagsavisen. The long and cold winter this year has left the museum with a “very demanding” economic situation that already has postponed maintenance projects and plans for new exhibits. “The museum is running at a loss now, and if these (electricity) cost levels continue, stronger measures will have to be evaluated,” Heyerdahl said.
She’s far from alone. Members of Norway’s museum federation are all struggling and have closed off rooms, lowered indoor temperatures and urged visitors to keep their coats on. State compensation has helped in some cases, but it’s not enough. Most museums have seen their energy costs double, and many such as the Henie-Onstad Art Center in Bærum can’t lower temperatures too much for fear of damaging art or other items on display.
“It’s been a quite serious situation for very many,” Liv Samskjør, secretary general of the museum federation, told Dagsavisen. This winter has been much colder than in recent years, and isn’t over yet.