The Ibsen Museum: Collection

The exhibition will not be open to the public until June 2016. A temporary exhibition is available in Storgaten 3 from 01/07/15 to 16/08/15. See opening hours / prices.



Henrik Ibsens gate is home to Café Ibsen, and across the road is Ibsenhuset; the old, white Ibsen Museum in Grimstad. The street is cobbled, and the museum garden features an Ibsen bust by Gustav Vigeland and an old magnolia tree. A look inside the museum is also recommended; if nothing else, just to report how much the old building is leaning.

Inside the glass doors is the entrance hall.  It is dark and narrow, but it is possible to spot the old fire buckets hanging on the wall. Let us hope they will not be needed. Through the first door on the left is the museum shop where you can buy tickets, books and other items. Its walls are decorated with excerpt from Ibsen' poem Terje Vigen.

Apoteket på Ibsen-museet i Grimstad viser gjenstander fra 1840-tallets apotek. Her er oppskriftsbok for tilbereding av medisin, pillebrett og gamle resepter plassert bak den samme disken Henrik Ibsen arbeidet bak som apotekerlærling i årene 1847-1850.
På Ibsen-museet i Grimstad kan du oppleve det originale apoteket hvor Henrik Ibsen arbeidet som apotekerlærling. Foto: Simen Samuelsen.

A guide will then take you to the part of the house where Henrik Ibsen lived from 1847 to 1850. In the kitchen, numerous items used in the household are on display. Underwear is hung up to dry, even though no one has lived here for many, many years. In another room is a model of the town as it was in 1848. Almost all of old Grimstad Municipality is shown in the display case.

The actual pharmacy and officinet (waiting room) are well preserved. Here you will find pots and jars in wood, glass and porcelain. As the guide presents you with some old herbs from the drawers, just say thank you and have a little taste. Next to the waiting room is the room where apothecary's assistant Ibsen spent his time. It is sparsely furnished, and is the same room in which Ibsen wrote "Catilina".

The 1st floor is more spacious. This part of the exhibition features several of Ibsen's belongings. In a glass case, some hair is on display. A hairdresser in Christiana sent Ibsen's hair to Grimstad; he felt it could be of interest to a museum. In a different display unit is Ibsen's hat, coat, umbrella and shoes: only Ibsen himself is missing. But a dummy is standing nearby: it represents Ibsen as a 15-year-old.

On the computers on this floor are films and various Ibsen poems set to music.  Why not let Helge Jordal recite "Terje Vigen"? In the same room, first editions of Ibsen's books are on display; and well looked after they are too. These copies have not been read for a long time. More recent editions of the same books are available downstairs in the museum shop. After your visit to the museum, why not try to read Ibsen in a more contemporary language version?