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“Historical Northernmost Museum”
Review of Svalbard Museum

Svalbard Museum
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The exhibition presents fragments of Svalbard's 400-year history and describes factors that help support life and the activities taking place here, which together reveal the close relationship between sea and land, nature and cultural history.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

We had to walk quiet a distance from Spitsbergen Hotel to Svalbard Museum. We had to take out our shoes and wear their sandals or slippers in order to enter the museum. The place outside the museum we could get our souvenirs. The staff of the Information counter could help you to arrange tours. The Svalbard Museum related the history of Svalbard and the polar bears. Knowledgeable.

3  Thank Seng Hing N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"stuffed animals"
in 23 reviews
"shoe covers"
in 11 reviews
"free lockers"
in 9 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 25 reviews
"arctic life"
in 8 reviews
"gift shop"
in 14 reviews
"natural history"
in 7 reviews
"interesting place"
in 11 reviews
"interesting exhibits"
in 7 reviews
"translated into english"
in 6 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 6 reviews
"great introduction"
in 8 reviews
"coal mining"
in 18 reviews
"local wildlife"
in 9 reviews
"quick visit"
in 6 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 14 reviews
"remove your shoes"
in 8 reviews

494 - 498 of 983 reviews

Reviewed December 27, 2013

The first thing to say is that Svalbard Museum is NOT where it says on Google Maps - it moved several years ago to part of the UNIS facility, which is the large long red building down by the fjord, with 'Svalbard Forskningspark' in illuminated red letters on the side.

The good news is that it is only a couple of minutes walk from the Radisson Blu Polar hotel if you're staying there. The museum has its own website that it pretty much up to date: I arrived a couple of days before Christmas and the website had the Christmas opening hours on the relevant page.

Admission costs NOK75 for an adult, approx. £8. For that you get an informative and comprehensive history of Svalbard, presented in an easy to read and follow manner. It covers the geological, topographical, natural, commercial, political and societal history of the place. The majority of the written content is in both Norwegian and English, although it is biased somewhat toward the Norwegian with some parts suffering from a concise English translation or none at all.

The history suggests that the archipelago has evolved from being purely of commercial value (whaling, hunting and mining) to being of strategic value, as the Arctic becomes more important on a geopolitical basis - the recent events in Russian Arctic waters with Greenpeace being a good example. You find yourself wanting to read up on the more recent - 20th century - history as you wander around the exhibits for this reason.

There are a lot of stuffed, dead (well at least one hopes they are) animals including the polar bear that is photographed by most reviewers, so if you don't like that kind of thing steer clear, although it is very difficult to appreciate the importance of marine mammals to the region without seeing examples of them here.

I took around 40 minutes to look around the museum - it is quite compact - and I would guess that if you were reading & studying every exhibit and explanatory text, it would occupy about an hour of your time.

There is a very good souvenir shop here with a decent range of gifts, postcards etc. and I would be tempted to shop for such things here as opposed to in the hotels or shops in town, where the choice is more limited and the prices higher.

As you exit the museum back into the reception area, there is a glass cabinet containing an Enigma code breaking machine and small piece of Alan Turing. I had never actually seen a real one and so it was a wonderful unexpected surprise to be able to do so, particularly bearing in mind the Royal pardon given to Turning by the British government earlier in this week.

There are toilets onsite as well as lockers & hangers for storing your valuables and winter clothing. As you would expect in Longyearbyen, you have to remove your shoes upon entry and they provide crocs-style shoes for you to wear during your visit (it's OK, the place isn't busy so nobody else will notice you wearing them).

Overall a very pleasant and interesting distraction for an hour when it was -17'c without/-29'c with windchill outside, as well as a useful exercise in broadening one's understand of this magical environment.

7  Thank Propaganda_Machine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

Very well displayed and clear interesting details plus helpful staff. It is sited near the water in an unusual building and recommend allowing at leat one hour or more to view

Thank KRBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

Visted here in the spring. Covered in snow, so no idea what the outside looks like. Good potyted history of Spitsbergen's history, including hunting and the effects of the war. There are not many places to go in Longyearbyen, so this really stands out. Just don't upset the polar bear!

1  Thank Cocidii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 3, 2013

A small but informative and modern museum detailing Svalbard's history. Lots of stuffed exhibits so don't go if that isn't your thing. I appreciated that a lot of the exhibits were translated in to English, although there were some that weren't fully and I feel I missed out a little as I enjoyed reading all about Svalbard's history. The gift shop was good and pretty much priced the same if not cheaper on some items than other shops in town. Worth a look if you're interested in the place you're visiting.

Thank Georgina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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