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Disfigured animals and smiling skelletons

01. Nov 2002 - 31. Oct 2016

This exhibition was produced in connection with Stavanger Museum’s 125th anniversary in 2002 and shows zoological specimens which were collected in the Museum’s early days. Even though they show the mark of time, some of them are today irreplaceable.

On March 8, 1877 seven serious men met at the Stavanger Allmueskole (“board school”) with the aim of establishing a collection of ethnographic and natural historical interest, and of antiquities, coins and objéts d’art, as the beginning of a Museum for the town of Stavanger. By 1893 the first stage of the Museum building was ready, and could display the exciting collections.


Right from the start Stavanger Museum has had support from the population of the town and over the whole of Jæren. New gifts, especially birds, came streaming in. many animals were also acquired through private individuals, gamekeepers and taxidermists both in Norway and abroad. Some were obtained from zoos, especially Copenhagen Zoo. The city’s involvement with both seafaring and mission created an increasing interest in foreign cultures. Both sailors and missionaries brought ethnographic material and exotic (stuffed) animals to the Museum. This was significant for the diversity of species in the Museum’s collections.

Many animals and birds were also obtained by swapping with museums and taxidermists, both in Norway and abroad.