AWA welcomes more Norwegian cultural heritage
Published September 24, 2021

AWA welcomes more Norwegian cultural heritage

Defense and Natural history, digital art and corporate stories are among the latest Norwegian deposits into the Arctic World Archive.

Representatives from the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum, Natural History Museum, Guttormsgaards Arkiv, the Saga Heritage Foundation and others travelled to Svalbard to deposit their data in the mountain vault. 

In addition, Tronrud Engineering, a proud Norwegian enterprise, deposited its corporate history and Intellectual Property into the vault for secure long-term storage. 

The Arctic World Archive is a growing digital repository of world memory located at the remote island of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean. Piql’s innovative approach to archiving repurposes photosensitive film to be a digital medium. Data is stored using high density QR codes with all information needed to recover the information also stored on the film, making it self-contained and future-proof. This tried and tested technology can keep data alive for hundreds of years, without the need for migration. 

These items were deposited alongside restored masterpieces from Ajanta Caves, ancient Hindu manuscripts, emerging art from South-East Asia, Norwegian history, Icelandic heritage, photographs and films among others. They join existing treasures including Edvard Munch’s The Scream, records from the national archives of Brazil and Mexico, Github’s open-source code repository, famous films and other contemporary art, in a vault of world memory designed to last forever.

Piql, the company behind the Archive, hosted a ceremony to mark the importance of storing these items for future generations.

Speaking at the event, Piql’s Managing Director, Rune Bjerkestrand, said that it was important for Norwegian heritage to be stored safely in this Norwegian mountain.

‘Not only does this deposit mean a great deal for me personally as a Norwegian, but it is also significant for other nations to see Norway prioritise preservation its heritage and legacy,’ he said.

Data that was deposited

Norwegian Armed Forces Museum

The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum made its second deposit with a collection of photographs from Luftfartsmuseet, Forsvarsmuseet and Hjemmefrontsmuseet.

These holdings have been extended through a new period of digitisation since the last deposit in AWA. The museum holds an impressive and growing photo collection that captures the dramatic development of Norwegian aircraft from pre to post war. One of the highlights of the collection is the very interesting collections from the Norwegian Resistance Museum, one of the best sources of documentation in the country of the work done against the invasion during WWII.

Natural History Museum

Making its second AWA deposit, the Natural History Museum chose to preserve a ‘local’ - the data from Ophthalmothule Cryostea, dubbed ‘Britney’, a 150-million-year-old fossil of a lizard like animal that was found on a neighbouring mountain in 2012.

This find was incredibly important as it is the only one of this type of plesiosaurs in the world with a preserved skull, giving much more insight into the creature.

Guttormsgaards Arkiv

Led by art historian Ellef Prestsæter, and working with US artist Sean Snyder, Guttormsgaards Arkiv is depositing a special digital art collection. Sean Snyder is a progressive modern artist, focussed on digital art and preservation. The collection will be exhibited at the Longyearbyen Library, prior to the deposit. For the artist, the depositing of data plays a crucial and integral role in his current exhibition project.

The Saga Heritage Foundation

The Saga Heritage Foundation has chosen to deposit the Flatøyabok, one of the most important Icelandic and Nordic manuscripts from the Middle Ages. A non-profit foundation, the Saga Heritage Foundation was established to work for the preservation and future access of the Norse cultural heritage in its broadest sense. The content of this saga is of great importance to Norway’s and Iceland’s history.

Film Director, Hans Petter Moland

The renowned Norwegian Director, Hans Petter Moland has chosen to deposit a classic Norwegian film Zero Kelvin (Kjærlighetens Kjøtere), filmed on Svalbard in 25 years ago. The film stars Stellan Skarsgård, Bjørn Sundqvist, Gard Eidsvold and Camilla Martens and was shown during Solfestuka festival in Longyearbyen earlier this year.

Tronrud Engineering

Tronrud Engineering, one of the great stories of Norwegian industrial development, is depositing its core corporate history, centred around a photo collection going back to the inception of the company in the 1970s. The collection shows the impressive development of the company from its early days to the evolvement as a major international company at the forefront of innovation in design and manufacturing delivering some of the most advanced automation solutions in the market. Now based at Eggemoen, an industrial site including their own landing strip for planes to arrive and take off, the deposits captures the complete history of how this development came to place from through the decades.

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Want to join a deposit on Svalbard?

To visit Svalbard is on many people's bucket list, and we recommend everyone who stores their precious memories in AWA to participate in a deposit ceremony.

Image of the invitation to the deposit ceremony