The Kon-Tiki Museum is a fascinating way to bring this specific area of Norwegian history to life. Focusing on Thor Heyerdahl and his many expeditions, and featuring actual pieces of that history on display, guests should plan on spending at least a few hours enjoying the museum and all it has to offer.
The Kon-Tiki Museum was created after the success of the exhibition with its same name in 1947. It was established as a permanent fixture of Oslo, Norway and opened its doors in 1950. The museum has welcomed more than a million people through its front doors since it opened. The history of the museum focuses on the expeditions that the famous explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, took into some previously unexplored areas of the world. It features real architectural pieces, like maps and vessels, and is always seeking to add even more to its permanent collection.
The highlight of the permanent exhibits at the Kon-Tiki Museum is the Kon-Tiki balsa wood raft, a primitive model that was handcrafted to look like the ancient models. It was the pride and joy of the creator of the Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl. He used the actual raft when he sailed, in 1947, to Polynesian from Peru.
The exhibitions that are on permanent display at the museum all focus on the man as well as the history. The museum starts with Heyerdahl’s first exhibition to Fatu Hiva and move through his voyages using the Kon-Tiki raft, the failed Ra, and the more successful Ra II vessel. It also introduces guests to another vessel, the Tigris. There are details presented about his expeditions to Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui), the Galapagos Islands, and Peru’s Tucume. There is also a biographical area, focusing on who the man was and how and where he grew up.
The museum features information on the expedition itself, with maps and vessels that were actually used by the explorers involved. In addition to the raft, there is also a reed-based vessel named the Ra II. Heyerdahl created this boat in conjunction with his vision of what the seagoing Egyptian boats would have looked like in ancient Egyptian times. He sailed that vessel to the Caribbean from North African. The original Ra boat was unable to make the trip and sank. The museum also features a huge library with a collection of over eight thousand different books, many of them from his own personal collection.
Another fun area of the Kon-Tiki Museum are the models of the different fish and sharks that were seen during Heyerdahl’s expeditions, which are on display at an underwater exhibition located under the main raft.
Guests can also wander along a 30-meter Easter Island cave replica or take their children to meet two of the museum’s mascots, a crab named Johannes and a monkey named Safi.
The Kon-Tiki Museum features all of their permanent exhibitions in multiple languages. There is also a short documentary film (Kon-Tiki) that was filmed in 1950, screening daily, located in the cinema.
The museum is open daily, all year round. Guided tours are also available for groups, by appointment only. These tours are offered only during the museum’s open hours and there is a fee associated with booking.
For a small free, the Kon-Tiki Museum offers guided school field trips for groups of more than 30 students outside of the normal school year. During the normal school year, groups can reserve field trips for more than 30 students totally free of charge. Requests and reservations should be made as far in advance as possible, and the staff at the museum can be reached by email. Be prepared to provide information like any preferred times or dates, the school’s name, the number of students and adult chaperones that will be taking the guided tour, any needed background information about the class and itinerary, contact information for the lead teacher, and an address to invoice (if necessarily).
Students can also have the option of eating a light lunch while visiting the museum and visiting the museum gift shop after the field trip. Tours are available in both Norwegian or English.
Dining and Shopping
While there is not a sit-down restaurant at the museum, catering is available for sack lunches that can be eaten in the conference room (which has a tiki theme). There is also a small gift shop at the museum, focusing on merchandise that relates to the Kon-Tiki as well as tiki themed memorabilia.
The Kon-Tiki Museum, Bygdøynesveien 360286 Oslo, Phone: +47-23-08-67-67