News and updates from ENCOUNTER

Successful joint venture: Nordic symposium on manors and manor museums/The 7th ENCOUNTER Conference

Field trip to Odals Værk


September 21 – 23, 2023, the Norsk Folkemuseum Foundation in Oslo, hosted the Nordic symposium on manors and manor museums and the annual ENCOUNTER Conference. The two networks were brought together for a discussion of the role of manors and manor museums in the light of the new museum definition adopted by ICOM – the international museum organization. Questions regarding ideals such as inclusion, diversity, sustainability, and community participation were raised and discussed on the first day of the conference, which offered a comprehensive line up of speakers consisting of museum professionals and researchers from various fields.

Interior from Linderud Gård

Keynote Peter Aronsson, chancellor at the Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden introduced the general themes of the conference while Petter Snekkestad, director at the Varanger Museum, Norway addressed the challenges of the “political museum” in a Norwegian context. Kasper Tipsmark, director at Gammel Estrup – The Danish Manor & Estate Museum, spoke about the anticipated museum reform in Denmark and the pros and cons regarding the now growing political wish to see museums taking part in the solution of social and environmental questions, while Hanneke Ronnes from the University of Amsterdam posed questions regarding the relevance of the traditional narratives presented at castles and country house museums. In addition, a large number of speakers enriched the conference in both presentations and discussion with their experiences with the conference topic from museums and research in both a Nordic and European perspective.

The second and third day of the conference the Norwegian hosts introduced the conference attendees to several manors and country houses in the Oslo region. These inspiring fieldtrips fueled further discussion and gave the attendees a thorough impression of the rich and varied manorial heritage of the region.

The kings bed at Eidsvoll

Especially visiting Eidsvoll Manor – the cradle of Norwegian democracy – resonated with the debate regarding manor museums and the challenge of new museum ideals. Due to its unique story – the democratic constitution of Norway was prepared and signed here in 1814 – Eidsvoll is naturally associated with the ideals of inclusion and participation. None the less the museum continues to develop new and relevant ways to let its particular history inspire new audiences.

Interior from Eidsvoll

The joining of the Nordic symposium on manors and manor museums with the 7th ENCOUNTER Conference was without doubt a big and demanding challenge, but the outcome was surely fruitful to the more than 70 attendees.

Read the full program here: Herregaardssymposium-ENCOUNTER.Oslo