“The oil adventure”. A timeline exhibition at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum

  • Camilla Ruud University of Oslo


“The oil adventure” has frequently been used to designate Norway’s oil history, and this gestures to the real world of industry and politics as well as to the magical world of folktales. This article explores resemblances between a timeline exhibition on oil history at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum and narrative elements from folktales. The analysis is based on the idea of petroleum as a relational museum object that gains cultural reality through curatorially established connections. This perspective is combined with insights from folktale and literature research, as well as from museum studies and energy humanities. Norwegian authorities show few signs of wanting to restructure the country’s economy away from its reliance on fossil fuel. This article argues that the exhibition supports the governmental position by favouring continued industrial growth.


Author Biography

Camilla Ruud, University of Oslo

Ph.D. Cultural History and Museology

Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages