The Norwegian Railway Museum
The Norwegian Railway Museum (NJM) is owned by the Norwegian Railway Directorate (former: Norwegian National Rail Administration – Jernbaneverket). The Museum is a public museum operating in accordance with ICOM statutes.
Since 1896, it has been the museum’s responsibility to document Norway’s railway history and its role in the Norwegian society over the years. The museum was established by former railway workers as a private museum. The museum is located in Hamar – a town rich in railway history and essential in the development of the country’s national railway. The museum is one of the oldest railway museums in the world.
The initial modest collection of artefacts included photographs, illustrations and technical drawings. From 1896 to 1912, the collection was housed on the second floor of the Hamar Railway Station. The museum was, however, not open to the public from 1912 to 1930, and everything placed in storage. In 1930 the museum was rebuilt along the lines of a typical Scandinavian open-air-museum in the eastern part of Hamar, with some older station buildings, a pair of sheds and a short section of track with signal masts. However, the site was located far from an operational railway line, and moving heavy exhibits there proved expensive and difficult.
The museum’s collection steadily expanded and toward the end of the 1940s the authorities had to start searching for a new location. The museum was moved to its current, beautiful location in the museum park at Martodden by Mjøsa, and the opening coincided with the museum’s 60th anniversary in 1956. The museum comprised a new main building with and exhibiltion hall and an open-air park containing tracks, signals and authentically furnished station buildings. From 1962 the museum has been offering visitors a short journey with a narrow gauge steam train.
Towards the end of the 1980s, the museum had once again outgrown its premises and was on the lookout for a new location or additional space. As a result, the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) purchased more land to the north of the current museum park. On some of this land, a new building comprising exhibitions, offices, library and workshops opened in 2003.
On the 1st of December 1996, the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) was split in two, and became NSB BA and the Norwegian National Rail Administration. At the same time, the museum changed its Norwegian name from “NSB Jernbanemuseet” back to “Norsk Jernbanemuseum” – its original name from 1896 to 1946. In 2017 The Norwegian National Rail Administration was split in two, and became the Norwegian Railway Directorate and Bane NOR.
It is the responsibility of the Norwegian Railway Museum to document and communicate the history and development of the railway in Norway, and to promote increased knowledge on the subject.