Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen: How to Visit + Tips (2024)

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Are you looking to visit the Svalbard Museum on your trip to Longyearbyen? This guide covers what to expect, the most famous exhibits, and everything to know before visiting the Svalbard Museum.

Are you planning your trip to Svalbard last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Svalbard last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, and more!

❄️  Top tours and activities in Svalbard:

  1. Speedboat tour to walrus colony (one of my summer favorites!)
  2. Historic coal mine tour at Gruve 3 (available year-round)
  3. Nature and wildlife tour on a boat (a Svalbard top-seller in summer)

🛌  Top places to stay in Svalbard:

  1. Haugen Pensjonat Svalbard (my FAVORITE place to stay!)
  2. Radisson Blu (good base for activities!)
  3. Coal Minerʻs Cabins (budget option, further from town)

Did I miss anything you’d like to know before planning a visit to the Svalbard Museum? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

📝 UPDATED FOR 2024: I have visited the Svalbard Museum 4 times over the years. Some of these photos are from before the remodeling but most are from February 2024, after its reopening.

About the Svalbard Museum

Located in the main town of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard Museum is the archipelago’s cultural and natural history museum, and it is one of the best things to do your on trip.

The museum was officially opened on February 20, 1982, and was initially run by volunteers until 1998, when it hired its first employees.

Visiting the Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen
Visiting the Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen

Over time, this museum has undergone many changes and renovations to make it what you’ll find today. It was closed for a bit to undergo some new updates and reopened in February 2024, which is when I had a chance to head back and see the new exhibits.

Inside the Svalbard Museum are over 28,000 digital images showcasing people working and playing throughout the years.

This will give an insightful look into Svalbard’s history, especially as a mining hub.

Inside the Svalbard Museum
Inside the Svalbard Museum

There are also over 12,000 artifacts, art, and books located inside. An archive collection is also available for guests to check out documents, diaries, and letters from people living in Svalbard throughout the years, including some famous explorers.

Inside, you can see information about the wildlife living in Svalbard, tools from miners and works from the last 400 years, and a trapper’s cabin that has been restored to showcase what life was like in this remote region of the world.

Wandering through the Svalbard Museum
Wandering through the Svalbard Museum

Visiting the Svalbard Museum: Practical Information

Opening Hours at the Svalbard Museum

The Svalbard Museum is open daily from 10am until 5pm. It is closed on January 1 & 2, May 17, and December 24 & 25 & 26.

Svalbard Museum Ticket Prices

An adult ticket is 150 NOK (about $14) and children under 18 are free.

The sticker they give you to enter with
The sticker they give you to enter with

Students will pay 100 NOK (UNIS students are free) which is about $9. Locals will pay 50 NOK (about $5). If you’re interested in getting a museum pass, it is 250 NOK (about $24). 

Location of the Svalbard Museum

Longyearbyen is very small, so it is relatively easy to find everything you’re looking for when visiting.

The Svalbard Museum is behind the Radisson Blu (toward the fjord) in a shared building with the university.

How much time do you need at the Svalbard Museum?

Honestly, I would plan 1-2 hours there. If you’re interested in the Arctic and the exploration of it, you can easily spend 2 hours there perusing the exhibition floor as well as the gift shop.

Svalbard Museum gift shop
Svalbard Museum gift shop

If you’re just looking for a quick overview, an hour should suffice.

Best Time to Visit the Svalbard Museum

I think it is worth visiting the museum at any time of the year, but beware: the summer months can bring large crowds. Particularly if the Hurtigruten or other ships have docked in Longyearbyen!

You can see the cruise ship schedule here.

A temporary exhibit at the Svalbard Museum
A temporary exhibit at the Svalbard Museum

Generally speaking, cruise ship season in Svalbard is from April until October, with a peak in June–August. 

As for the time of day, I would avoid the earlier part of the day during the summer months. It can be swarming with people inside (trust me). Head to the museum around 3-5pm for a quieter experience.

Cruise ship day in the museum
Cruise ship day in the museum (June 2023)
The museum on a quiet day
The museum on a quiet day (February 2024)


Is the Svalbard Museum wheelchair-friendly?

Yes, the Svalbard Museum is wheelchair-friendly.

The exhibitions and main things to see at the Svalbard Museum are all located on the first floor. The bathrooms and gift shop are also on the same floor and are easily accessible.

Svalbard Museum for the Visually and Hearing Impaired

At the Svalbard Museum, there is a written guide for those who need it. Service dogs are also permitted, and there are good light conditions throughout.

Inside the Svalbard Museum
Inside the Svalbard Museum

Gift Shop at the Svalbard Museum

The museum has a wonderful gift shop. You can find heaps of different books about Svalbard there (most are in Norwegian, but there are also many in English, German, and French).

They have books about the local flora and fauna, as well as memoirs from locals who have lived on Svalbard for many years.

You will also find nice souvenirs, knitwear (including beautiful polar bear sweaters), and posters. I purchased four books there on my latest visit.

Additional Tips for Visiting the Svalbard Museum

One thing to note is that this is a shoe-free zone! You will be required to remove your shoes upon entering, and there are plastic covers for your feet if you wish to wear them around. You’re fine to just wear your own socks, though.

There are shelves to put your shoes on while you’re strolling around the museum.

Svalbard Museum
Svalbard Museum

Lockers are also available, and you will be requested to put your backpack or larger purse in the locker upon entering the exhibition area. They are free to use, and you will have to carry a key around during your visit to the museum.

There is no on-site cafe. I do recommend hopping over to the lovely Cafe Huskies after and warming up with a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate there!

Is the Svalbard Museum worth visiting?

I think that this is one of the best small museums I have ever visited in Norway (and beyond). The museum put a lot of effort into the recent facelift, but it was also fantastic before!

If you are hanging around Longyearbyen, I do think visiting the museum is a must!

Do you have any questions about visiting the Svalbard Museum on your trip to Longyearbyen? Let me know in the comments if you do.

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Are you looking to visit the Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen? This guide tells you how to plan your visit, including ticket info, opening times, and more! | Things to do in Svalbard | Things to do in Longyearbyen | Museums in Svalbard | What to do in Svalbard | Svalbard in winter | Svalbard in summer | Svalbard itinerary

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