Alta Museum

On August 26th we went on an excursion to Alta Museum. As part of the field trip museum’s marketing and sales manager Anita Topia gave us a presentation. She explained how the museum operates and its roles of conserving one of the eight UNESCO heritage sites in Norway. However, museum work is not limited to protecting heritage. It plays a role in introducing the heritage and its importance to a wide range of people, from individuals to groups, locals and foreigners. The rock art is one of the two cultural heritage sites in Finnmark. There are five places in Alta that the rock art can be found. Only one of them, Hjemmeluft, is open to public. Other four, Kåfjord, Storsteinen, Amtmannsnes and Transfarelv are not made available for tourists, but are the Museum’s responsibility.

The Alta Museum consists of a director and three departments – protection, research, renewal. Their tasks are explained in 4F’s which are dissemination (Formidling), management (Forvaltning), research (Forskning), renewal (Fornybar).

The Museum gets about 60,000 visitors a year. The analysis shows the main season is from June to August, 80% of all the guests visit then. More than 99% of them are from Europe, with about 30% Norwegians. The largest proportion of tourists are from Germany, Italy and France. Alta museum would like to attract more visitors from Asia, since they see a big potential there. Another big opportunity to expand is to persuade the tourists visiting the North Cape, by new deals and marketing strategies. The museum is missing out on a big number of guests during the winter season, since the main attraction is unavailable during this time. Hence it is important to come up with new activities, different exhibition to bring in more visitors.

The guides are very valuable part of the Museum. They are the faces of a museum when greeting visitors and taking them on guided tours that are personalised by every guide. Which in turn has a significant impact on the museum’s image and their feedback. A good guide is someone who has plenty of knowledge on what they are presenting. The tour that is given should be educational and entertaining. It is important that the museum guide is enthusiastic, has a loud and clear voice, and knows how to adapt to the group that (s)he is presenting to.

Anita had made a SWOT analysis going into detail about the museums Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Some of it we discussed earlier – high vs low season, well trained employees, UNESCO status, increasing the number of visitors. The struggle is with lack of resources to finance the Museum, and their biggest threat is an overall decline in tourism, a financial crisis and vandalism. The museum has a responsibility in conserving the world heritage while displaying it for the public. Their future mission is to create more activities to reach out to more people, to meet the new demands of its customers. Overall we feel like Alta Museum has a lot to offer, and plenty of opportunities to grow.

Reference list

  1. Topia, A. (2019). Verdensarvsenter for bergkunst – Alta Museum. Museum verdensarvsenter & reiselivsattraksjon. Presentation, Alta

Photographs taken by Hyunyi Um

The Trolls at Trollholmsund

The Trolls at Trollholmsund is a geological phenomenon, with an interesting saga behind it.

On our Golden route of Sápmi one of the stops we had was traveling to Indre Billefjord to visit a special landmark, the trolls at Trollholmsund. The Bus ride to Indre Billefjord was filled with gorgeous scenery and the beautiful colours of autumn. It wasn’t a long trip from our previous stop we had in Lakselv. The journey brought us on just a dirt road for the last couple of kilometres and we drove past old houses in a little fishing community. It really takes you away from the stressful life that can come from big cities.

Once we arrived at the destination, we gathered up our fishing rods and equipment and headed out for the landmark. we had to walk for 10 minutes through grass fields, sheep, cows, cow dung’s and hills. It was a nice easy hike with a beautiful scenery of the rocky area we were visiting.

After 10 minutes of walking we were greeted by a few numbers of rock sticking up from the rocky ground like pillars in the horizon. It was a very peculiar view as we didn’t know what we were expecting or that something this special could be located just behind someone’s farm.

On the way to the rocks there was also this information table with information about how to behave around the rocks and the lore surrounding the “trolls”. They don’t want people to run and climb on the pillars, overtime they will become worn down.
The old Sámi legends about the trolls tells a story about a group of trolls on their way across the Finnmark plateau, carrying large chests filled with silver. They stopped to drink and sucked water out of the earth, and from then on, the water has come from another spring, Ráigeája “The hole spring”. The trolls continued the journey, but the people did not like this, they followed the trolls with boats firing at them with cannons. The trolls tried to get away over the Porsanger fjord but was surprised by the high tide when they got to Trollholmsund. The trolls came up with a plan on how to get away but before the trolls could execute their plan the sun rose, and they all turned to stone.

Trollholmsund is an area that consist of limestone which was formed approximately 700 million years ago. The stones apparently got their shape during the ice age when the soft stone that was covering the limestone got worn down.

We stayed for an hour at trollholmsund, trying out our fishing luck and managing to catch 4 tiny fishes which we released back into the ocean. People really admired and were taking a lot of photos of the troll stones. We also found several pieces of crabs and other sea creatures that had washed up on the shore.

On our way back to the bus we could spot seals and whales swimming around just next to the shoreline. It was a nice trip and cool experience.

Information Table with the Troll saga (Petter Skorpen Tronstad
Map of the Troll Journey and surrounding area (Petter Skorpen Tronstad)
The Troll Stones (Petter Skorpen Tronstad)
Fishing at Trollholmsund (Petter Skorpen Tronstad)
First catch (TongTong)
Closer look on the rocks (Petter Skorpen Tronstad)