The building and location
Haugar Art Museum is located in the old Maritime College in the center of Tønsberg. This impressive brick building was built in 1918-21, and is the work of architects Bjerke & Eliassen. Four years later it was awarded the A. C. Houen Prize for outstanding architecture. The architects collaborated with sculptor Wilhelm Rasmussen, resulting in twelve caryatids in Larvikite quarried locally at Brøttsø decorating the façade. The sculptures depict the exotic people sailors might expect to meet on their voyages. High above the town, the museum’s location is both beautiful and historic, situated between the Haugating, the assembly place for the Viking council, and two burial mounds. According to the saga history of Snorri Sturluson, the two sons of Harald Fairhair, Olaf and Sigrød, are buried in the mounds after dying at the hands of their brother Eric Bloodaxe at Haugar in the spring of 934.
Founding and organisation
Haugar Art Museum was established in 1993 as a foundation created by Vestfold County and municipality of Tønsberg. Haugar was initially run by the foundation’s board of trustees, but Vestfold County assumed management of the museum in 1998 and since 2009 museum has been a part of The Vestfold Museums, an inter-municipal company (IMC). The collection remains in the ownership of the foundation. The board of Foundation Haugar Art Museum is appointed by Vestfold County every fourth year and current members are Øivind Storm Bjerke (Chairman), Grethe Hald and Per-Eivind Johansen.
The museum was first acknowledged on Norway’s national budget in 2005 and has received state subsidies since then.
A part of Vestfoldmuseene
Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum is a part of the inter-municipal company (IMC) Vestfoldmuseene IKS.
Vestfoldmuseene manages nine different museums in Vestfold county, and will take you on a riveting journey through the Viking Age, the medieval period, the life of the artist Edvard Munch, whaling history and modern industry history. You will also find one of the greatest art museums in Norway.
Vestfoldmuseene is also in charge of running Vestfoldarkivet (archive) and Samlingsforvaltningen (collections management), with objects, photos and archives from all over Vestfold.
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