Bitey, Not Tasty

Pike. Bitey, according to some sources.

“That’s a pike. I don’t like pikes. They’re bitey but not tasty.” (American tourist couple overheard at the local public aquarium.)

Sea Lion. Fond of water. Which is one of the things that sets it apart from its African cousin; the land sea lion.

Herrings. Not red

Cayman. Also bitey

Green anaconda. Doing pilates, slightly out of frame

Cherry Blossom Beauty

Picnic Area #1

Picnic Area #1

The Japanese tradition of hanami – the celebration of the transient beauty of flowers, observed through enjoying a nice picnic in the shade of a cherry tree – is a brilliant concept that lends itself very poorly to Norwegian weather.

Picnic Area #2

Picnic Area #2

Picnic Area #3

Picnic Area #3

Picnic Area #4

Picnic Area #4

Picnic Area #5

Picnic Area #5

Picnic Area #6

Picnic Area #6

Picnic Area #7

Picnic Area #7

Picnic Area #8

Picnic Area #8

The Great Migration

Moving a museum collection, animal by animal.

On the move #1

On the move #1

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Super… moose? Nah. Just a regular, stuffed Eurasian elk, lifted out of a third story window down to a waiting lorry.

This, of course, is not part of the animal’s normal migration pattern, but a necessity due to the renovation of the Natural History Collections at the University Museum of Bergen.

On the move #2

On the move #2. All wrapped up and ready to go

On the move #3

On the move #3. Giraffe. Horizontal

The moving of mice and moose, this exodus of elephants, took place October last year. I was hired to document the strange odyssey for the museum and followed the crew for a couple of curious days, as 60 large, stuffed animals of various condition were crane-lifted out of the museum and driven away for temporary storage.

The thing is, however, that nobody really knows how temporary this exile of the animals will be. As of now, the restoration is on hold due to lack of funding. In the last state budget, no money were allocated for this purpose. These days the museum is just empty. The halls are quiet, no work being done.

And the moose is missed.

On the move #4

On the move #4. Anaconda

On the move #5

On the move #5. Not marshmallows

On the move #6

On the move #6. The lion, the witch lioness and the wardrobe container

On the move #7

On the move #7. Trunk love

On the move #8

On the move #8. Soaring over Museum Square in a hot air ballon (not really)

On the move #9

On the move #9. Ibex and crew

On the move #10

On the move #10. Lorry not marked “Elephant inside”

On the move #11

On the move #11. Polar bear returning to the cold. A four week stay at a commercial freeze storage ensures that no living pests are brought into the museum’s own storage facility

On the move #12

On the move #12. Sign reads “Unauthorized items”

(Last week the museum invited me back to make a new series of photographs. These were the subject of my last blog post: The Empty Museum.)

The Empty Museum

There used to be animals here. Wolves and elephants, moose and mice, beavers, birds and bears. Stuffed but wondrous. Ragged, scruffy, dusty and old. And beloved. Now there are none.

Exhibition: none #1

Exhibition: none #1

Exhibition: none #2

Exhibition: none #2

The Natural History Museum was one of the most popular museums in Bergen. It was built for a different time, for a different crowd, valuing wonder and mood over educational aspects. It was one of very few museums not yet ruined by forced modernization. Display cabinets had yet to be supplanted by fancy tech. Dust and lack of light were essential parts of the experience. It was a museum’s museum.

Exhibition: none #3

Exhibition: none #3

Exhibition: none #4

Exhibition: none #4

But the same age that lent the exhibitions their quaint qualities had also taken its toll on the objects and the animals. Seeing minimal upkeep since it first opened its doors for the general public in 1867, the museum was in dire need of maintenance. Large parts of the collection risked unrepairable damage unless the building itself was restored. Beginning a few years ago, one million museum items were catalogued, sanitized and moved to external magazines. The museum closed to the public. A 600m NOK restoration project, spanning several years, was underway. The reopening was scheduled for 2018. Then the money stopped.

In the last state budget, no money were allocated to the restoration project. The closing was meant to be temporary. But when the museum will open now is anybody’s guess.

Exhibition: none #5

Exhibition: none #5

Exhibition: none #6

Exhibition: none #6

Exhibition: none #7

Exhibition: none #7

Exhibition: none #8

Exhibition: none #8

Exhibition: none #9. A peacock and an eagle are the only birds left in the bird room. Soon they too will be stored for an indefinite amount of time

Exhibition: none #9. A peacock and an eagle are the only birds left in the bird room. Soon they too will go into storage for an indefinite amount of time

Exhibition: none #10. Whale skeletons, too big to move, are covered in paper and tarp

Exhibition: none #10. Whale skeletons, too big to move, are covered in paper and tarp

Exhibition: none #11

Exhibition: none #11

(See the animals leave the museum in the blog post “The Great Migration”)