Departments and research
The Department of Natural History (SN)
The Department of Natural History manages and contributes to the Museum’s natural history collections. The Department conducts research in biogeography, biosystematics, and ecology with an emphasis on conservation biology. The two botanical gardens, Ringve botanical garden and Kongsvoll Alpine Garden, form part of this department.
The Department of Archaeology and Cultural History (SAK)
The Department of Archaeology and Cultural History studies pre-historic, historic, maritime, and Sami archaeology. It conducts archaeological excavations in accordance with Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act. It hosts the Museum’s cultural heritage conservation laboratory, and is responsible for the cultural history collections, as well as teaching the professional archaeology programme.
The National Laboratory of Age Determination (SA)
The National Laboratory of Age Determination dates archaeological, geological and organic material through radiocarbon dating (14C) and dendrochronology dating (tree-ring analysis). The department, which
was previously the Department of Archaeometry, changed its name in 2014. The laboratory is open and accepts commissions.
The Department of Public Outreach and Exhibitions (SF)
The Department of Public Outreach and Exhibitions is responsible for producing and maintaining the Museum’s exhibitions, coordinating public events and school programmes, and other educational
offerings. The Department also manages the Museum Shop.
The museum's scientists conduct basic biological and archaeological research, along with user-oriented research that helps build knowledge-based management of our natural and cultural resources.
The most important research areas are:
- BIOSYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTION
Biosystematics is the study of variance, through the description of biological diversity and the understanding of processes which lead to evolutionary changes. This encompasses naming species, deducing the relationship between different organisms, gaining an understanding of how species formation occurs, and analysing the history of all living creatures on earth.
- HUMANS, NATURE AND LANDSCAPE INTERACTIONS
Biological conservation research aims to identify what factors determine species’ spread over time and space, how the variations in the environment affect the structure and dynamics in different populations, communities and natural environments, and how to preserve biological diversity and ecosystems on all levels. Research on the interaction between humans and our natural environment is key to understanding how we have influenced the environment during thousands of years, and how changes in nature have shaped human culture.
- PRESERVATION IDEOLOGY AND MUSEOLOGY
Preservation ideology provides the theoretical principles on which legal and applied environmental protection is built. Museology involves the processes that contribute to the establishment, maintenance, and changes of museums, historically and at present.
- MATERIAL CULTURE AND OTHER FORMS OF CULTURE
This research studies artefacts and other forms of culture expressed through archaeological material
and places them in the context of their geological origins, and their consistency, change and variation in Norway, Europe, and globally. It also reviews previous theories connected with this field.
- TECHNOLOGY-BASED METHODS
Conservation technology entails the conservation and safeguarding of movable and immovable cultural heritage artefacts for future generations. It is founded on the study of scientific and technological subjects that may increase our understanding of the materials of cultural artefacts, their construction and deterioration, and the development of technology-based methods of conservation and strategies for safeguarding. Archaeological fieldwork methodology consists of the methods and strategies for documenting and collecting archaeological data. This includes excavation techniques, the use of geographic information systems to measure structures and draw findings, geophysical information systems and other methods of distance measurement, and photographic and field conservation techniques.
- AGE DATING METHODOLOGY
Radiocarbon (14C) and dendrochronology research contributes both to the enhancement of the precision of dating methods and supports its expansions into other application areas. The methods are employed in a series of research projects and generate new knowledge within a range of fields such as scientific and cultural anthropological studies of climate and environmental changes, building history, and developments in landscape, culture, and settlements.