Department or Program

Political Science

Additional Department or Program (if any)


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Craig N. Murphy

Additional Advisor(s)

Patricia Berman

Additional Advisor

Christopher Candland

Additional Advisor

Robert Paarlberg


There is a vast amount of attention in Norway going into cultural institutions that is supposed define the image of the capital and Norwegian society. The focus on ‘building culture’ has nevertheless left a lacuna of what or where the Norwegian identity is in relation to this process. Former definitions of the state and the general consensus of what it means to be Norwegian have in many ways changed over the past three decades.

I am therefore interested in crafting a response to the fleeting conditions of this Norwegian identity at the start of the century, by considering the way it is represented through the building of a museum. As a case study, the new National Museum of Arts, Architecture and Design in Oslo, or Nasjonalmuseet as it is better known, can in many ways be described as an interface that bridges the ‘new’ ideas with the ‘old’, and thereby revealing how the formulation of what the Norwegian identity might be is under negotiation.

My discussion exists amidst a larger discourse of the role cultural institutions and urban development play in the formulation of a Norwegian identity in the twenty-first century. In addition to arrive at predictions about the new museum as such, I hope to respond to how this is reflective of a broader framework of the cultural, economic and political situations in Norway.