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New exhibits on the History of Earth and Evolution of Life

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Explore our new geological exhibits – the largest upgrade of exhibitions at the museum ever. 

The Natural History Museum in Oslo opens grand new geological exhibitions. Covering more than 2000 square meters over four floors, the new exhibits encompass several thousand objects from our extensive collections, including several hundred never before displayed to the public. The overarching theme of the exhibitions is the history of Earth and the evolution of life. The exhibitions have been created in collaboration with museum scientists, lecturers and world-leading exhibition designers. Our visitor will experience the character and atmosphere of the 100 year old building combined with innovative design and modern storytelling. This is the largest exhibition upgrade in the history of the museum. 

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The six main stories of the new exhibitions

Evolution of Life

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Earth and its life have evolved together through billions of years. Microorganisms, fungi, plants and animals are constantly adapting. Climate change, continental drift and great natural disasters send evolution in new directions. This exhibition displays snapshots of past ecosystems through geological time, from the origin of life to living organisms. Visitors also get to know important evolutionary events of selected groups of animals and plants. 

Minerals and rocks

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Minerals are everywhere. They form the our very foundation and are crucial raw materials for many of the products of our every day lives. In these exhibitions we display a wide variety of these beautiful, necessary, rare and distinct objects from our collections. This is a classic exhibition of minerals and rocks with emphasis on their systematics, origination and use. The histories of selected Norwegian mining sites and geological specialties are covered in separate displays.

History of an Ocean

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The North Sea has existed for approximately 200 million years. Hidden beneath the ocean floor are clues to its origin and the life that that once existed here. Through drill cores we can study sediments and fossils, thereby exposing details about the ocean's history. Parts of the ocean floor of the Barents' Sea have ended up as the Svalbard archipelago. On land fossils are more easily accessible, which makes us able to reveal its history in even greater detail. 

Stories from Space

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The Earth originated approximately 4.5 billion years ago, and the Solar System 500 million year before it. The oldest known on Earth are "only" 4 billions year old. However, most of the rocks from space are much older, some even predating the Solar System itself. One part of this exhibition displays meteorites, space rocks that have survived the travel through the atmosphere and impacted on our surface. The other part of the exhibition portrays the Solar System.

Dynamic Earth

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The Earth is often called the Blue Planet and it is truly distinct from the other planets of the Solar System. It is covered by oceans and green forests and has seasonal variations and air that can be breathed. And it is teeming with life. On the surface, its distinctiveness is obvious. However, also the Earth's interior and magnetic fields are different from the other planets. Without these physical characteristics, life could not have evolved the way it did. In this exhibition visitors will get to know the processes that make our planet unique and that all life depend upon. 

Crystal Cave

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In the basement of the new exhibitions visitors can for the first time wander through a reconstructed cave made from 20 tons of crystals. The original caves hold some of the world's most diverse collections of calcite crystals. The Crystal Cave exhibition is divided in three parts. In the two first rooms visitors can walk through the reconstructed mine cave with crystals, calcite variants and other minerals. In the last room are displayed spectacular fluorescent minerals from all over the world. 

Floor plan of the exhibitions

See video from the installation of the exhibitions


Do you have questions about the the new exhibitions? Please find contact information below.

Project Leader Marianne Strøm

Press Officer Karenina Kriszat