Firmanavn · adresse · Tlf. xx xx xx xx · firstname.lastname@example.org
The history of Qasigiannguit Museum stretches back over 40 years and was officially begun by the municipal council in the middle of the 1970’s, where plans concerning the establishment of a local museum was a part of the terms of reference of an established Museum and tourist committee.
The idea was not new to the inhabitants of Qasigiannguit however. The politicians and appointed members of the committee was able to quickly get started establishing a museum.
The committee’s first idea for the location of the new museum was one of the oldest buildings in Qasigiannguit. In 1977 they asked permission of The Royal Greenlandic Trade co. (KGH) to be allowed use of the building B-8 in the old part of town. Through the local newspaper “Qaqqarsuaq” the people of Qasigiannguit and surrounding area where encouraged to support the collection of artefacts and the financial support for the physical framework to support a museum. In June 1981 the building B-8 was given to the commune for the purpose of making it into a museum free of charge by The Royal Greenlandic Trade (KGH). The gift also included the towns old salutation canons and its flag bastion.
From the committee for museum and tourism a museum-board was created, and the held their first meeting in January 1982. Besides elected politicians and appointees from the commune, the education sector also had a permanent member on the museums board. This position was held by a schoolteacher for a number of years, and this person was later appointed to the newly created national museum committee.
The museums board decided at their first meeting that the name of the museum would be Qasigiannguit Katersugaasiviat and that they would need to hire a director of the museum on half time, and soonest hereafter apply for the proper status as a financially supported local museum. In the early years the tasks for the newly appointed director – besides being a part of the preparations of marking the towns 250-year anniversary in 1984 – was to get the museum organized and decorated to a standard that would allow the museum to be approved according to the laws concerning museums. This meant the museum could be officially opened and taken into use during the upcoming anniversary of the town.
The director of the museum continued the collection of artefacts and established contacts to relevant peoples regarding further artefacts and photo collections to be added to the museum’s collection. The museum building was designed with shelf-space for proper storage with fire and theft alarms, an exhibition room and a small office for the director. As a result, the museum could open for the public 2 * 2 hours a week, as early as 1982-1983.
Another highly prioritized mission for the museum was a special focus on Qasigiannguits prehistoric period and to collaborate with the national museum and the researcher team in reconnaissance and archaeological digging in Qasigiannguit district – especially interior Disko Bay and on the island of Qeqqertasussuk, which lies in the bottom of the south east bay.
The inhabitants of Qasigiannguit also played a part in this part of the early museum life as they helped with the practicalities around the digging and some even worked as amateur archaeologists.
Two buildings – a proper museum for and about the town
The museum board was from the very beginning interested in taking over the oldest buildings in town to be used for museum purposes. The colony warden’s house (B-3) and especially the so called “Poul Egedes house” B-4 (Oldest wooden building in Greenland) was of interest, including a move of the last mentioned building as it was seen to be placed in a poor location with the amount of traffic that was going past it because of the shrimp factory and fishing port close by.
In the end B-4 wasn’t chosen but the colony wardens house was. Through an extraordinary effort by the locals, the house was made into a museum. Once the building was emptied and put up for sale the master craftsmen came together for a fundraiser with the goal of giving the commune an opportunity to purchase the building for museum use.
from 1988 and onwards the building was furnished and decorated to be used as the main building of the museum with offices, library and a staff room on the first floor, while the ground floor was designed to be used for exhibitions.
Qasigiannguit Katersugaasiviat has maintained its connection to the archaeology in the area through a close cooperation with archaeological research teams and the museum now houses the entirety of the impressive archaeological collection of well-preserved finds from the permafrozen cultural layers on the island Qeqertasussuk.
The museum expands to six buildings and the surrounding area is included – an interactive museum
Through the years more and more deeds have been transferred to the museum and the number of buildings that houses the museum has more than doubled – a peat house build by the inhabitants of the town, the self-built house B-186 and the former paint workshop B-18.
All three building have been included in the museums activities in conjunction with the museums evolution regarding the publics’ involvement and interactive dissemination.
While the two buildings B-186 and B-18 for many years have stood unused, the integration of the peat house has meant that this building and the surrounding area has been maintained and improved upon as an active dissemination area regarding a time with houses built from rocks and peat with inside wood panelling. The peat house is furnished with a daybed and a tiled stove and items befitting the period have been added continuously, including linens and utensils. The building and its surrounding area has mainly been used by local associations, by institutions and at special occasions.
Building B-186/self-built house was built in the 1960’s and belonged to a family who made their living of hunting and trapping. The museum hasn’t had the resources to add the house and its history to the museums activities, but the house has been maintained and looked after. Dissemination of the house and its cultural significance is being planned for the future.
B-18 which was used as a private storage room for a time, but the museum made the building into a workshop for a new enlivening project “Living Settlement” and the building has continuously been refurbished and designed to store raw materials and copies of artefacts. Furthermore the building has been put to use as an interactive workshop and dissemination room for volunteers and visitors alike.
The museums 5 buildings in the old part of town creates a harmonious whole. The areas in between these five buildings have therefore been included into the museum. Unfortunately the old flag bastion and canon positions have not been well enough preserved in their original positions, the garden around the colony wardens house has however been re-established and maintained and the board of the museum have made a place for the old fire truck of Qasigiannguit besides two well-preserved barrels.
Shrimp-production and pre-colonial era
Even though the museum in its first 20 years followed a traditional path in terms of museum-development, gathering a prehistoric and ethnographic collection with a special focus on the hunter/trapper profession, the museum has also had its eyes on the newer industrial history of the town. From early on, the board of the museum wanted to gather information and artefacts to highlight one of the most important industries through several generations – shrimp fishing and shrimp production. It was not until that industry died however and the community started to feel the consequences, in the beginning of the 2000’s, that the idea was actualized. The board fought a losing battle to keep the oldest of the shrimp factory buildings and turn it into a museum for the history of shrimping.
A few years later, when the town had to get rid of its well-known icon the municipal arms decorated with two shrimps, because it was to join in a bigger communal aggregation while at the same time marking its 275 anniversary, the focus of the museum was naturally shifted back towards collecting information and artefacts to highlight the shrimp fishing and production. Quickly and generously the public submitted their photos, stories and artefacts which was used as a base for the first dissemination of the towns industrial evolution. The exhibit was displayed in the building B-3 where the skin boats and hunting equipment of the hunter gatherers had to make way for trawling equipment and shrimp cans. The Museums ethnographical collection has been moved to the building B-8 and expanded with more modern dinghy fishing.
At the same time, the town was exploring its identity as northern Greenland’s oldest colony and thoughts about the dissemination of the past through an attraction like a historical enlivening started to resurface. The idea had been born in the 90’s within the tradition of the museums tradition for forming a symbiosis between museum and tourism development. The idea of a historical enlivening was implemented at the anniversary of the town in 2009.
The work with the enlivening was titled “Project Living Settlement/Nunarqarfik Uumassusilik” and the project was placed at the museum, which has since had the professional and educational responsibility for the project, while also being responsible for the practical framework of the enlivening.
Even though the museum for a period did not have a politically appointed board after the communal rearranging 2009, the support from the local community has been anything but lacking in support.
The museum has worked with several different inhabitants of the town in its work, and has been inspired in its collection strategies and dissemination fields.
Furthermore the museum has been able to pull on the community for volunteers in the practical work with building an enlivening project and the interactive dissemination that follows. This in regard to the project ‘Living settlement/Nunaqarfik Uumassusilik’.
From 2016 the board has been reetstablished; the future awaits with new challenges; from new laws regarding museums to community and trade development, climate change and international interactions – and last but not least with new demands for dissemination. The museum is happy to have its board to cooperate with regarding these challenges.
Organisationshåndbog, Kásigiànnguit Kommuniat).
Qaqqarsuaq – Qasigiannguit aviisiat/Christianshåbs avis
Qasigiannguit museums arkiv