Welcome to Ishavsmuseet at Brandal

Here you will find local and national sealing history and polar history throughout the last 100 years.


Ishavsmuseet specializes in polar history, mainly focused on Norwegian sealing and winter hunting, the Arctic sea, the courageous crew, ships that went down and sometimes large lutes. The men, who earned their living from the sealing and winter hunting, surrounded by snow and cold weather, lived in merciless nature. Here, at the Arctic museum, the story is told – And you can see and read about the one of the most dangerous professions, that sometimes could be result of a prominent earning. Join us, on a journey through the ages, through our three-storeyed exhibitions, and the house of Aarvak. Embark the wooden seal hunting vessel was built in 1912. It is the oldest preserved wooden ship custom built for sealing. The Arctic museum carries on the rich traditions that were so important for the people, the coastline and the country.

Ships of wood, crew made of iron!

Sealing was committed from several places in the northern Norway. The people located in Sunnmøre, started sealing in 1898. They introduced bigger and stronger vessel, which laid the foundation for modern sealing in Norway. The good years were prominent, especially around World War 1, with an increasing demand after seal and whale products. There were endowed 203 vessels for sealing in 1919. It was a dangerous occupation. The ships that went down, were many; two of three vessels went down. In 1928 eleven vessels went down during twenty-four hours in the White Sea. In the years 1924 – 1939, 115 Norwegian hunting vessels went down. In 1917, seven vessels and a total of 84 crew members disappeared without a trace, and in 1952, five ships, and a total of 79 men went missing.

The Arctic Ship «Aarvak»

«Aarvak» was built in Bergen in 1912, one of the first custom made vessels for sealing. Today, this is the only vessel preserved from this era. «Aarvak» was in continuous service from 1912 until its last sealing trip, which was in 1981. Ishavsmuseet Aarvak (The Arctic Museum) took over the responsibility for the vessel the same year, and it soon became the foundation of the museum. «Arvaak» was set ashore in 1998, at the museum. It was built a protection building of the vessel which was completed in 2009. Welcome to explore the vessel «Aarvak»!


NOK 30


  • Ishavsmuseet Aarvak
  • 6062 BRANDAL
70 09 20 04

Where is The Arctic Museum Aarvak?