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Review of Leprosy Museum

Leprosy Museum
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Bergen Card
Ranked #15 of 143 things to do in Bergen
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Gran, Norway
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2013

Nowadays the hospital looks charming with its small wooden houses, but all the information inside can give you quite another feeling. It was a terrible faith to get this illness.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Ingjerd S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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240 reviews from our community

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London, England
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Mildly interesting, mildly odd.”
Reviewed August 14, 2013

As museums go it is pretty rubbish at educating you about anything to do with the disease, the culture of it or the hospital itself. Itself, however, is its main and best exhibit as the museum is the old hospital. As other reviewers may have noted, there is a strangeness to the place, an atmosphere, that you may feel enhances or hinders your experience. I felt uncomfortable and I couldn't necessarily put my finger on why. Although I felt I had to leave sooner than I would normally it costs virtually nothing to get in (literally nothing with a Bergen Card) and for me was worth it just for the strange sensation.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank candygirling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stamford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Horrific History-loved it!”
Reviewed August 11, 2013

Ask for an English guide to read as you follow the displays through the museum. Excellent experience: 500 years of history about the care/treatment (or lack of) of leprosy in Norway and specifically the hospital in Bergen. I was grossed out by some of the pictures, wax masks, deformed feet etc, but at the same time really felt the sad atmosphere of all those poor residents banished to a miserable existence in the hospital. Apparently, some residents weren't ever actually diagnosed with leprosy...the tiny size of the living accommodation is shocking. It was also interesting to learn about Norwegian scientists advancement of understanding of the causes and effective treatment of leprosy. Wonderful, moving experience.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank blunderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Not everybody's cup of tea”
Reviewed August 2, 2013

We,ve read a lot about leprosy, so wanted to see this museum. Probably not many people know or would like to visit this museum, but its very informative. We had a good chat with the curators and learned even more on the subject. They have info on many languages and it is located in the older part of town on the way to the train station.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank EE58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Fascinating, and different, historical museum”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

It is consistently a challenge to find museums that both parents and our three teen/pre-teen kids appreciate. We typically enjoy hip interactive science museums and aquariums; we also have a slight preference for art and cultural museums. Surprisingly, the Leprosy Museum met everybody's needs.

It is centrally located, near the train station, and the admission price was very reasonable at 70 Norwegian Kroners per adult, and the three kids were free. Note the hours are limited; visit the web site.

When we arrived, we inquired about the next tour availble in English. We did not have to pay anything additional (so mentioned because someone else said there was a charge for guided tours), and we arrived at 12:05 PM (so mentioned because someone else said there are tours only on the hour). The tour guide made a big difference; this knowledgeable graduate student shared the story of the facility and answered many questions from our family of 5. This was very helpful to have a live guide because our kids do not enjoy reading infinite placards.

Someone else mentioned that the documentation or reading materials are sparse. Respectfully, we disagree -- you can request English translation of the important placards, which are generally informative, and there are translations of the doctor's explanations of paintings of patients. There is also a small bookstore for those who want to learn more. Someone else mentioned that this is only for people with a medical interest. Respectfully, we disagree. Although the pictures are unsettling, they prompted important discussion in our family about the social impacts of quarantine, isolation, and stigmatization of people with this visible and curable disease... a disease which surprisingly still continues today in the slums of India and elsewhere.

My teenage son was notably inspired at this museum, and he announced he may pursue a history project on leprosy next year at school. Regardless, he is much smarter about the disease now, and hopefully more understanding of how important it is to treat diseased people with respect.

There was also an art installation on exhibit, which I think lasts through some time in August, related to people with disease. We had only two minutes to watch part of the 20-minute video.

If your family members are going to be grossed out over pictures of disfigured people with lesions and numb faces and amputated fingers, then maybe you want to skip the museum. But if you want to learn more about Norway and how Europe dealt with this disease in the late 1800s up to the 1930s, then this off-beat, unique museum may be just for you.

We saw almost all of the museum, took the guided tour, and read almost all of the placards in about 75 minutes. As an added bonus, with your paid admission ticket, adults are offered a card with discounts for other museums in Bergen, as well.

Visited July 2013
4 Thank MichaelTheWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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