Ibsen´s plays are performed on stages all around the world, but it was here that he lived and wrote his final dramatic works. On Arbins gate it is possible to acquire a glimpse behind the facade of the aging writer. An extensive amount of groundwork was carried out in the recreation of Henrik Ibsen´s home. Thanks to financial support, goodwill on the part of donors and lenders, the painstaking efforts of the expert museum personnel and skilled craftsmen, an authentic impression of the writer´s home has been created. The furniture has been reinstated while the floor, walls, ceiling and surfaces have been reconstructed according to archaeological building studies, supplemented by a range of historical sources. Where time had made its mark on the material of tablecloths, curtains and drapes, these have been rewoven as exact replicas of the originals.
When Suzannah Ibsen died in 1914 the home was dismantled and the furniture scattered. The municipality of Kristiania assumed possession of Henrik Ibsen´s study and bedroom and deposited all of it at the Norwegian Folk Museum. The library went to the county museum in Skien (now Telemark museum) and the dining room to the Ibsen House Museum (now the city of Grimstad´s museums). The family retained possession of the remaining furniture.
In 1990 actor Knut Wigert took the initiative of renting the apartment, based on a wish to make it available to the public. As a point of departure for further restorations, studies were done documenting the most important rooms in the apartment. Norsk Folkemuseum took over responsibility for operations in 1993, and Ibsen´s study was restored but limited resources and a lack of original artefacts resulted in only this particular room being given an adequate presentation.
The Ibsen family has made an important contribution to the opportune results. Ambassador Tancred Ibsen has lent out and donated a large amount of personal property inherited from his great-grandfather and his cousin, the actor Joen Bille, has for many years helped us with the task of locating and reacquiring original furnishings.
Financial assistance: the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, Anders Jahres Humanitarian Institution, Ibsen Year 2006.