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Our Exhibitions

Our exhibitions are packed full of stories, knowledge and activities for visitors of all ages. Join us on a voyage through more than a thousand years of maritime history!

See traditional boat types in the Central Hall

The pram and other rowing boats

In the east and south of Norway, along the Skagerrak coast and the Oslo fjord, there is little difference between high and low tide. Therefore, boats did not need to be pulled up on land between sea journeys. This meant that boats could be built heavier and wider with a short keel, often in oak.

The boats were hard to row, but easy to sail close-hauled with a square sail or a fore-and-aft rig.

These boats were mainly used is sheltered waters for fishing and taking freight out to small island farms. Fishing for mackerel and lobster was of key importance.

  • Pram
    Pram Rowing boat which can easily be pulled up on a gently sloping beach Espen Wæhle/Norsk Maritimt Museum

The pram is one of several types of clinker-built, open traditional boat types you can see in the Central Hall at the Norwegian Maritime Museum. This is a type of rowing boat that primarily was found in Eastern and Southern Norway. In particular, it could be seen in sheltered coastal waters and on rivers and lakes.

This is a boat with no keel or prow or stern, and it is considered a specifically Norwegian boat type.

This one (NSM.04258) stems from Holmsbu on the Drammens fjord and was built out of pine around 1920.

The photo carousel below show ‘prams’ in use.

  • Pram at Flekkerøy near Kristiansand
    Pram at Flekkerøy near Kristiansand Hand-tinted diapositive. Flekkerøy Inn, a large, white wooden building, lies at a headland facing the sea. Below are two boathouses and two white-painted fishing smacks. In the foreground we can see a red-painted boathouse with a pram moored next to it. Anders Beer Wilse, DEXTRA Photo/Norsk Teknisk Museum
  • Pram at Bygdøy
    Pram at Bygdøy Bygdøy, Oslo, 29.09.1960. Man in a pram, boats and piers, NFDB.26792-253 Åsgeir Valldal, Dagbladet/Norsk Folkemuseum
  • Pram beside a pier
    Pram beside a pier Motif from Hankø, Fredrikstad, Østfold county, 25/5-1968. NFBD.26785-626. Dagbladet/Norsk Folkemuseum

The Central Hall is the museum’s front room. Lectures and large meetings are held here, as are dinner parties, concerts and family gatherings.

Whilst waiting for the Boat Hall to reopen in 2021, we have a small exhibition of traditional rowing boats here. 

In the Central Hall, we have a number of splendid objects from the collection on display, including:

  • Traditional rowing boats
  • Figureheads
  • Pinrails
  • Stern ornamentation
  • Model of the steam frigate ‘Kong Sverre’ and some original parts of the frigate
  • The Central Hall
    The Central Hall Main hall with exhibitions. Espen Waehle/Norsk Maritimt Museum