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The museums of Greenland

Inspiration / The museums of Greenland

We give you a brief insight into some of Greenland's many beautiful museums.

In Greenland, we have a strong tradition of art. It comes in many guises, as art objects or in everyday life in the form of decoration and, e.g., in music with drum dancing and folk dancing. In many of Greenland’s towns, you can visit local museums to get an insight into local history and traditions. In Nuuk and Ilulissat, you will also find museums dedicated to art.



The Greenland National Museum

You will find the Greenland National Museum in three-four beautiful buildings on the waterfront at the old Colonial Harbor. This is the most picturesque part of Nuuk. The exhibitions at the National Museum tell us the history of Greenland in finds, arts, inherited objects, and beautiful pictures.

The most gripping part of the exhibits is the mummies from Qilakitsoq. They have provided invaluable insight into life, clothing, and the Inuit’s health in days of yore. The mummies were found in 1972 near the ancient settlement of Qilakitsoq, across the fjord from the famous heart-shaped Uummannaq mountain. Two brothers were hunting for ptarmigans when they sought shelter from the rain under a rock. Here they found a tomb with eight bodies of people who had died 500-600 years earlier. The dry and cold climate under the rock has freeze-dried the mummies, and they are exceptionally beautiful. Especially the baby mummy is very well-kept, and it looks like it is taking a nap. You can see four of the mummies in Nuuk.


Nuuk Art Museum

Nuuk Art Museum has a unique collection of Greenlandic paintings and art objects through time. Often, you will also see exhibitions with contemporary art by Greenlandic artists. The museum was created when a married couple in Nuuk donated their large and unique collection of Greenlandic art to the municipality, provided that the collection would be displayed together. Nuuk Municipality found a fitting building, and the museum is a great joy for both locals and visitors.


The museum in Sisimiut is located – like most museums in Greenland – in beautiful buildings from the colonial era. One of these is The Blue Church, our oldest church if we disregard the Norse church ruins in South Greenland. Sisimiut Museum offers a very fine collection of local history from ancient times to the present. A peat house has been built in connection with the museum.

You will find an exciting exhibition at the museum with many artifacts from the Saqqaq culture, one of the early Inuit cultures in Greenland. These finds were found in ruins and manure heaps nearby and testify to many thousands of years of habitation in the area.

There is also a special exhibition about fishing in Sisimiut. Fishing and hunting have made Sisimiut Greenland’s second-largest town, so in the exhibition, you will experience a former fish factory model, and you can see examples of vessels and dog sleds that are indispensable for fishermen and hunters.



Ilulissat Museum tells you about life throughout 4,000 years on the shores of the Ice Fjord. The museum is located in the birthplace of the great polar explorer Knud Rasmussen. Naturally, there is an exhibition about his life and work. Also, there is a beautiful exhibition with Knud Rasmussen’s works and Ms. Jette Bang’s photos. Jette Bang took thousands of pictures in Greenland and documented Greenlandic life in photos before it changed radically in the 20th century.


The museum in Qasigiannguit, like the other local museums, is rich in local history, but it also stands out in a very special way. The museum hosts a project that brings to life the early 18th century when Inuit from the Thule Culture lived in the area. The project is called Living Settlement, and, during summer, local volunteers and professionals help each other bring to life the Thule Culture. You can experience people in kayaks and umiaqs and see how life in a village was lived on a summer day 300 years ago. It is quite impressive and worth a visit.



Narsaq is Greenland’s second youngest town, but, of course, the town has a museum – and an excellent one. The museum is housed at the old colonial harbor in three beautiful buildings. The most striking of the buildings has the code “A34” painted on its roof, a relic from the pioneering days of flying in Greenland when the pilots used these numbers to navigate.

Narsaq Museum covers local history and the lives of both Greenlanders and the Norse. In an annex, you can see an old printing house, and a peat house has been erected so you can get a sense of life in the town 100 years ago. You also get a feel for the agricultural life that is so special to the area. The poet and priest Henrik Lund lived in Narsaq with his wife Malene, who became Greenland’s oldest resident at 102 years. Their home is also part of the museum and shows a beautiful Greenlandic home from the early 20th century.


Narsarsuaq / Kangerlussuaq

The museums in Narsarsuaq and Kangerlussuaq, respectively, are distinguished by their focus on aviation history. Both settlements are former American airbases, so they have played a central role in the history of aviation in Greenland. The museum in Kangerlussuaq also focuses on the American presence in Greenland. In Narsarsuaq, you also get a look at the Norse history, as the most important settlements of the Norse were located close to Narsarsuaq.

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