Gjenreisningsmuseet Museum of Reconstruction, Hammerfest, Finnmark, Norway  

The Museum of Reconstruction for Finnmark and North Troms is a museum in the town of Hammerfest, Norway.

As was much of Northern Norway, the entire town of Hammerfest was razed to the ground by the retreating Nazi German military forces at the end of World War II. The museum commemorates this event with a wide range of displays, including both photographs and many items from the town from around that time. The first part of the main sequence of exhibits, on the ground floor, depicts the events themselves; the second consists largely of a series of reconstructions of the town during and following its reconstruction. There are homes, workplaces and other such tableaux, composed mostly of authentic items retained from that time, clearly showing how shockingly basic life was at first as the town’s residents rebuilt their homes and lives, literally and exactly from the ground up.

Since the locals knew the troops were coming and what they would do, there was a little time to prepare. The local barber’s pride and joy was his authentic American barbershop chair, imported from Chicago before the war. As many people did with their most precious possessions, he wrapped the chair in tarpaulin and buried it in his garden. When the building was reconstructed some years later, he dug up the chair and it was proudly reinstated in his parlour, where it remained for some decades. Now, it is in the museum.

Epic Norway Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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