Norway and Oslo are for sure connected to seafaring. But you don’t need to only think about the Vikings: there have also been polar expeditions starting from there and other crazy adventures with Norwegian participation took place. To learn about this part of Norwegian history you should visit the museum half-peninsula Bygdøy: it hosts three museums in one place; the Frammuseet, Kon-Tiki Museum and the Norsk Maritimt Museum.
The Frammuseet was opened in 1936 and is built around the ship Fram which was used for arctic expeditions. Within you can learn about the Norwegian polar scientists Fritjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and Otto Sverdrup. Amundsens ship Gjøa used to sail the Northwest Passage is also on display. It is amazing to climb on top of the Fram and to imagine how to it might have been to cross the icy waters.
Next door is the Kon-Tiki Museum opened in 1949. Here you can see the raft Kon-Tiki with which Thor Heyerdahl travelled from Peru on the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. His adventure was somehow practical archeology: he wanted to proof that the people on Polynesia might have arrived from South America using ancient sailing techniques. You can also see a copy of the papyrus ship Ra II that he used to travel from Marocco to Barbados.
The Norsk Maritimt Museum is a more general seafaring museum opened in 1914. You can see ship models, paintings about seafaring and it has a nice coffee bar. You can reach the museums on Bygdøy – how could it be any different – by boat: the ferry boat starting in front of the Rådhuset brings you over: first stop is the Folkemuseet, the second stop brings you to the seafaring museums.
Frammuseet / Kon-Tiki Museum / Norsk Maritimt Museum