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Grenselandssenteret ( The Borderland Centre)
Sør-Varanger Museum was established in 1964 as a private institution, which was taken over by the municipality some years later. In 1967, the museum purchased its first building, Bjørklund gård (farm). Today, the museum owns 16 sites spread around the municipality. This collection of buildings represents a cross-section of building traditions and history linked to significant threads of the municipality’s earlier history. Several of them, for example Strand internat (boarding school) in Pasvik, are featured in this architectural guide.

From an architectural perspective, considerable emphasis has been placed on creating flexible, varied and exciting exhibition spaces in the new building. The area designated for exhibitions can be roughly divided into three: the introductory section connecting to the main entrance; the perforated wall with the bridge; and this, with its openings, creates a link with the main exhibition hall on one side of the wall and the introductory section. In the exhibition hall it is possible to accommodate large items or increase the space by setting in mezzanines. On the bridge there is good contact between the two main exhibition areas. This openness makes it possible to look down into both zones and gain an impression of its entirety.

During the Second World War, Germany stationed over 50,000 men in Sør-Varanger. At Grenselandssenteret there is a permanent exhibition entitled Krig i grenseland (War in the Borderland). This illustrates the Second World War in Sør-Varanger. One significant reason and productive premise for the creation of this site was that the municipality some years earlier had had restored the Russian fighter plane Iljusjin IL-2 M3M, which crashed in Norway during the last war. The war exhibition, where the plane is now on display, is extremely popular and comprises the museum’s main exhibition, but the exhibition about the A/S Sydvaranger company is also one of the museum’s prize pieces.

Photographer: I.H.U

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