The Kon-Tiki Museum
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Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - in finnish

The Kon-Tiki Museum was opened in 1950 in a temporary building to display the Kon-Tiki raftwhich had been brought back from the Pacific. A permanent museum building and museum organisation was in place by 1956 and has since had nearly 16 million visitors. The museum is organised as a non-profit foundation with little or no support from public funds.

Thor Heyerdahl, in a deed of gift dated November 5. 1956, donated the raft Kon-Tiki to the museum of the same name. In this letter Heyerdahl stipulated that the proceeds of the museum should go to establishing a fund, with two main purposes:
1) Secure the running of the museum.
2) Give grants to ethnographical or marine-historic research, with particular focus on the early diffusion of the high cultures of South America.

After his successful voyage with the reed boat Ra II in 1970, Heyerdahl once again made a substantial contribution towards expanding the exhibition and scope of the Kon-Tiki Museum. He donated Ra II with all its equipment to the Kon-Tiki Museum in a deed of gift dated October 26. 1973. Again Heyerdahl stipulated that the proceeds should secure the running of the museum, and to the extent possible “support research within the fields covered by” his expeditions.

The first grant was awarded in 1952 to Henning Siverts , then a MA student in anthropology at the University in Oslo. He was already as a student a critique of Heyerdahl’s theories, exemplifying how much Heyerdahl valued discussion and opponents. Since then 20 grants have been awarded to students and researchers particularly of Pacific and South American studies.