Aug 31, 2006

Bergen's museum garden

I'd still get no better than a "C" ("G", as it used to be in Norway) in history, with my memory for names, dates and places. I wander around with my local history "class", listening to someone tell me who did what when, and I just know I'll forget and not be able to tell anyone else. But here's the gist of it:

The university of Bergen was established in 1946 on a hill called Nygårdshøyden (literally: New farm height). However, people had been doing advanced studies in that area for about 80 years already. One man's hobby had become a valuable collection. That man was Wilhelm Frimann Koren Christie, Norway's first parliamentary president, right after Norway got its own constitution (in 1814) but was still under Swedish rule. When Christie became disabled about 10 years later and could no longer work, he devoted his time to collecting historical items of all kinds. This collection became Bergen's first museum and popular with the locals, and outgrew itself. A new museum building was built in 1867 up on the hill in a marsh, and the collection moved there, becoming an important research aid. Some 60 years later, the museum had outgrown itself again, and was split in two, so the original is now called the museum of natural history and the newer one is the museum of arts and crafts. Botanical research was also done at the museum (of natural history), transforming the marsh around the museum into a gorgeous and varied garden with thousands of different kinds of growths, many planted as a test to see how they'd do at our latitude and in our climate (quite well, apparantly). One of the loveliest features in this garden is its lily pond. More photos from the museum garden at Flickr (see link in sidebar).

I need to return to this place, because there are more flowers, and I got no pictures of the front of the museum or the statue of Christie there.

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