Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a free Tromso contemporary art museum

8 Best Museums in Tromso, Norway + Map

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The museums in Tromso offer more than just your average galleries. Beyond more typical museums like the Tromso Art Museum and Tromso Science Centre, you’ll also find unique options, including the Polar Museum, Troll Museum, and Perspectives Museum.

Visiting Tromso museums is particularly handy if you’re in Tromso in winter, when the weather is cold and snowy. After all, spending a day inside a heated building and learning more about Norwegian art, history, science, and culture is a pretty ideal way to keep warm and have fun at the same time.

Of course, ultimately, Tromsø museums are worth going to at any time of year, since paying them a visit is considered one of the best things to do in Tromso.

1. Polar Museum, the most popular museum in Tromso

Learn all about polar exploration and trapping at the Tromsø Polar Museum. The museum building is an 1830s warehouse that is charmingly located along the waterfront.

Polar Museum, a museum in Tromso for learning about polar exploration

1. Polar Museum, the most popular museum in Tromso

Tromso was considered the “Gateway to the Arctic” in the nineteenth century, so many expeditions to the North Pole set out from the city. As such, the permanent exhibitions tell the stories of Arctic explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen as well as the history of whaling and trapping in Northern Norway.

The Tromso Polar Museum is one of three museums that are run by Tromsø University, the other two being the Tromsø Museum and MS Polstjerna. Because of this, you can enjoy a reduced Polar Museum Tromso entrance fee if you purchase a combined ticket to the Polar Museum and Tromsø Museum.

  • Hours: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
  • Price of admission: 100 NOK ($11.59 USD) for adults; 150 NOK ($17.39) for adult combo ticket to Polar Museum and Tromso Museum; free for children under 18

2. Tromso Museum, a fascinating museum in Tromsø

The eponymous Tromsø Museum is a must-see for when you visit Tromso. Also known as the Arctic University Museum of Norway, it houses five permanent exhibitions, including two on the culture and history of the Sami (an indigenous Scandinavian people) called “Sami culture” and “Sápmi – becoming a nation.”

Tromsø Museum, a Tromso museum on art, science, and culture

2. Tromso Museum, a fascinating museum in Tromsø

Learn all about the Earth’s formation and even touch some of the university’s geological finds in the “TellUs – From Stardust to Modern Technology” exhibit. Then, head to the “UNNaturally” area to admire some Arctic wildlife and explore the interactions between humans and nature. Finally, if you’re an art history buff, the “Ecclesiastical Art” section boasts a medieval triptych and sculptures from churches around Northern Norway.

As I mentioned above, the Tromso Museum, like the Polar Museum, is a Tromsø University museum, so purchasing a combined ticket for both museums will save you money and be more convenient than buying the tickets separately.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday; 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Saturday; 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Sunday
  • Price of admission: 100 NOK ($11.59 USD) for adults; 150 NOK ($17.39) for adult combo ticket to Polar Museum and Tromso Museum; free for children under 18

3. MS Polstjerna, an immersive Tromsø museum

Step onboard the MS Polstjerna, a former sealing ship that has been preserved inside a dry-dock, covered glass building. This completely immersive Tromso museum offers you the chance to walk the decks of this historical ship and examine its former occupants’ tools and equipment.

MS Polstjerna, a Tromso University museum where you can see a real sealing ship

3. MS Polstjerna, an immersive Tromsø museum

In addition to learning more about sealing, you’ll find exhibits on Sami culture, Arctic wildlife, and polar exploration.

Unfortunately, the ship is currently closed for maintenance, but hopefully, it will reopen soon so you can enjoy visiting this fascinating relic of the past.

  • Hours: Currently closed for maintenance
  • Price of admission: To be determined

4. Northern Norwegian Science Center, the best Tromso science museum

Embrace your inner scientist at the Northern Norwegian Science Center. This Tromso science museum is suitable for all ages and houses many informative and interactive exhibits. On Sundays, you can even participate in one of the activities at the center’s labs.

Pretend to be a meteorologist and give a weather report before going shopping for eco-friendly food at the “Little Green Shop” in the “Climate and Weather” area. Then, try the climbing wall, do some puzzles, and test your vertical jump height in the “Body and Brain” section.

Northern Norwegian Science Center, the best Tromso science centre and museum

4. Northern Norwegian Science Center, the best Tromso science museum

Next, head to the “Energy and Environment in the North” area to learn all about clean energy developments. Finally, learn about the Northern Lights, constellations, and Earth’s magnetic field in “The Sky above Us” section. If you’re still looking for more to do, you can watch one of the many movies on offer at the planetarium.

Additionally, right next to the science center is the beautiful Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden. This garden, which is the world’s northernmost botanic garden, is free to enter and open year-round. The best time of year to visit, however, is from May to October, when the collection of Arctic, Antarctic, and alpine plants from all over the world is in full bloom.

  • Hours: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily
  • Price of admission: 130 NOK ($15 USD) for adults; 70 NOK ($11 USD) for children; 330 NOK ($38.25 USD) for a family of 2 adults and three children

5. Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromso, the best Tromso art museum

At the Northern Norway Art Museum, you can admire artworks by Norwegian artists, Sami craftspeople, international contemporary artists, and more. You’ll always be able to see something different here, since this Tromso art gallery mainly hosts a series of temporary exhibitions.

Northern Norway Art Museum, a Tromso art museum with contemporary art

5. Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromso, the best Tromso art museum

If you’d like some expert guidance as you explore the museum, there are free guided tours on Sundays at 2:00 PM and on weekdays during opening hours. Grab a snack at the café if you’re feeling peckish and make some art of your own in the Maker Space. You can even bring home a souvenir made by a Sami designer from the museum’s gift shop.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, except Thursday; 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Thursday
  • Price of admission: 80 NOK ($9.30 USD) for adults; free for children under 18

6. Perspectives Museum, an unusual Tromso museum

The Perspectives Museum is unlike any other museum in Tromso. Here, you can see a constantly changing series of temporary exhibitions that center on art, culture, literature, and more.

Perspectives Museum, a museum in Tromso for cultural diversity and different perspectives

6. Perspectives Museum, an unusual Tromso museum

The museum’s focus is on human connections and cultural diversity, and it aims to foster tolerance and respect for different perspectives, hence the museum’s name. The museum’s permanent collection is home to an archive of over 500,000 photographs; objects, photographs, and art that belonged to the local writer Cora Sandel; and collections that were inherited from the Tromsø Town Museum and Troms Folk Museum.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM to 4 PM, Tuesday – Friday; 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday – Sunday; closed Mondays
  • Price of admission: 50 NOK ($5.80 USD) for adults; free for children

7. Troll Museum, a cool museum in Tromso, Norway

Whatever time of year you visit Tromso, don’t miss the Troll Museum, which is by far the funkiest museum in Tromso. This museum is the first in Norway to focus entirely on trolls and fairy tales and provides the perfect means of learning more about Norwegian folk tales and beliefs.

Troll Museum, a Tromsø museum about Norwegian folk and fairy tales

7. Troll Museum, a cool museum in Tromso, Norway

The museum uses Augmented Reality (or AR: added animations, images, texts, and sounds via tablet) to really make its exhibits come alive. As you learn more about Norwegian fairy tales and myths, you’ll see the stories play out in front of you with illustrations and hand-crafted figures.

You can also play a series of troll-themed board games or read translated versions of the fairy tales for yourself in the Reading Room. If you really fall in love with the trolls, you can even take an AR one home with you from the gift shop.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily
  • Price of admission: 180 NOK ($21 USD) for adults; 100 NOK ($11.59 USD) for children 5-12; free for children under 5; 450 NOK ($52 USD) for family of 2 adults and 2 children

8. Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a fantastic free Tromso art museum

Take in experimental and contemporary art at the Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a free Tromso art museum and the oldest art institution in Northern Norway. The changing temporary exhibitions include works by many different Norwegian and international artists.

Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a free Tromso contemporary art museum

8. Tromso Center for Contemporary Art, a fantastic free Tromso art museum

When you’re doing exploring the exhibition on display, stop in at the gift shop for some books or a souvenir.

  • Hours: 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Wednesday to Sunday
  • Price of admission: Free

As you’ll have seen, Tromso is home to a wide variety of incredible and unique museums. If you plan your trip to Tromso well in advance, you certainly won’t get bored if the weather is too bad to get outside and explore. Use the map below to find your way to the Tromso museums you’re interested in and see what other attractions are in the area.

I hope this article has helped you plan a fun-filled trip to Tromso. If you’re wondering where to stay, our article on the best hotels in Tromso will help you pick the perfect accommodation. Additionally, visiting museums isn’t the only activity Tromso has to offer; Tromso tours are also an exciting way to explore the area.

Enjoy exploring Tromso!

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