The History of the Ibsen Museum

The History of the Ibsen Museum

The Ibsen Museum was founded by Knut Wigert in June 1990 and was withdrawn to Norsk Folkemuseum in March 1993. Since then, The Ibsen Musuem has been a part of Norsk Folkemuseum.

Ibsen's home

  • Henrik Ibsen in his study
    Henrik Ibsen in his study

After Suzannah Ibsen´s death in 1914, their son Sigurd Ibsen gave his father´s study and bedroom to the city of Kristiania, the reading room to the County museum in Skien and the dining room to Grimstad, where the chemist´s shop in which Ibsen had worked had been made into a museum as early as in 1909. In that Henrik and Suzannah Ibsen had leased the apartment at Arbins gate 1, Sigurd did not wish to continue to pay rent on his parents´ home any longer than was necessary.

  • Arbins gate 1, where Henrik Ibsen lived.
    Arbins gate 1, where Henrik Ibsen lived.

Sigurd Ibsen had promised his parents to keep the furnishings from "the red drawing room". The furniture from that room and most of the paintings were taken along to Villa Ibsen in Suisi near Bolzano in Italy, where Sigurd Ibsen lived until his death in 1930. The interior went out of the family´s possession in 1968 when the place was sold to Italians. The furniture was, with the help of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, bought back in 2002. The paintings are still to be found in Villa Ibsen, but the Ibsen Museum has with the assistance of Ibsen´s great grandchild, the actor Joen Bille, been granted the right of pre-emption.

The mayor of Kristiania proposed having the interior preserved in the apartment on Arbins gate, but the initiative was too late in coming. The city executive took contact with the owners regarding what it would cost to purchase the building. The politicians thought that NOK 300,000 was too expensive. The municipality therefore deposited the furnishings of the bedroom and the study at the Norwegian Folk Museum. The study was reconstructed and exhibited with all of the original objects while the bedroom, with Bergliot Ibsen´s approval, was loaned to Skien to be exhibited along with the library at the Brekke estate.

The Ibsen Museum is now a part of the Norsk Folkemuseum foundation, and contains Henrik Ibsens home, restored with original interiors and an exhibition presenting Ibsen's life and works.