Worth its weight in gold
The artefacts on display in the «Legends in Gold» exhibition are national treasures in Bulgaria and their value can hardly be measured in money.

Worth its weight in gold

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Worth its weight in gold

The artefacts on display in the «Legends in Gold» exhibition are national treasures in Bulgaria and their value can hardly be measured in money.

By: Ove Sjøstrøm/Creato Media

– This type of cultural historical and archaeological exhibition is rare in this country because of the high values involved.

Few museums have the pre-requisites to be able to display such an exhibition on account of the major costs required in order to ensure the necessary level of security, says Per Øyvind Riise, project manager for the «Legends in Gold» exhibition.

Security in place

Security measures at Bryggens Museum are currently being upgraded in order to be able to house this and future exhibitions that require extra high security. This has been made possible through financial support from the Stiftelsen UNI foundation, the Arts Council Norway, and others. There will also be close co-operation with the police and security guards when the exhibition is in place.

– For obvious reasons, we will not explain all the security measures that will be implemented. Neither will we be commenting on the precise value of the exhibits. However, it does not take an expert to understand that gold artefacts, designed and crafted 2-3000 years ago, are valuable, he says and adds:

– This is an exhibition with some of the most precious archaeological objects currently in existence. The value can of course be measured by the weight of the precious metals, but more importantly, the exhibits bear witness to people and cultures throughout time in a way we are seldom able to show the public. That is what fills us with a sense of awe and responsibility, says Riise.

Oslo was a realistic candidate

The exhibition itself has been made possible through EEA funding that aims to promote the relationship between Norway and Bulgaria as well as to support work in Bulgaria to manage cultural heritage.

Janicke Larsen

Janicke Larsen

– The budget for the actual exhibition is around NOK 6 million, which covers rental costs for the exhibits, transport and production of the exhibition. Without the EEA funds it would not have been possible to bring this exhibition to Bergen, and without the support from the Arts Council Norway and the Stiftelsen UNI foundation we would not have been able to implement sufficient security measures at the museum, says Riise.

– There are enough exciting themes to communicate in relation to the exhibition. The stories about all the amazing artefacts are impressive on their own.

When Bulgarian authorities were looking for an appropriate exhibition centre in April last year, initial enquiries were made to a few museums in Oslo. However, because of the short notice, it was not possible for any of these museums to house the exhibition. An enquiry was therefore sent to Bergen City Museum.

– We had to make some small adjustments to our plans in order to organise it, but we had the premises and expertise required for the exhibition. I think there might be some frustrated people in Oslo when they realise what an amazing cultural treasure is coming to Bergen this autumn, says Riise.

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Separate website

An external website will be set up in connection with the exhibition, separate from the official Bergen City Museum website.

– We are doing this in order to collect articles, photographs and videos relating to the exhibition. These will also be shared in social media in order to create publicity for the exhibition, says Janicke Larsen, Head of exhibitions and public outreach at Bergen City Museum.

Larsen says the website will be kept up-to-date until the exhibition leaves Bergen.

– There are enough exciting themes to communicate in relation to the exhibition. The stories about all the amazing artefacts are impressive on their own. The website will present information about a range of exhibition-related topics up to the opening in September, says Larsen.

The exhibition can also be found on Instagram and Facebook for those who want to share their enthusiasm through pictures and text.

– Remember to use our official hashtags #legenderigull, #bryggensmuseum and #bymuseetibergen when you share pictures from the exhibition on social media, urges Larsen.

Bergen City Museum manages a good selection of cultural heritage exhibits with its nine museums in Bergen Municipality. In addition to a large number of artefacts of priceless historical value, the City Museum also manages 120 historical buildings. Last year, the number of visitors exceeded 200 000 for the first time in the museum’s history.