The Intercultural Museum was founded to reflect intercultural reality of Oslo which other museums were failing to do. It was set up as a public foundation which undertook a prize-winning transformation of an old police station and in 2006 merged with two other museums including the old City Museum. Its ethos of respecting diversity and casting an equal gaze was embodied from its inception in its representation– with a majority of people of immigrant background on its management board.
It also conceives of the museum as a space of dialogue involving as wide and diverse a range of people as possible. So it works on issues of mental health and discrimination against gay people, intergenerational relationships as well as intercultural ones and it draws on universal and shared aspects of culture - such as rites of passage - to make connections across ethnic differences.
It has staged more than 100 art exhibitions, performance and courses (painting, dancing, storytelling) for children and youth. It also arranges tours in the most diverse part of the city and tells stories about historic and contemporary immigrant communities and mutual influences between different population groups.
Another important aspect is offering assistance to young people in accessing training and the cultura heritage job market. Also indirectly helping artists with minority background to enter established networks, and presenting them in the gallery and promoting them to other professional galleries and museums. There is provision of special training in cross-cultural awareness and competence to professionals in the city council and to schoolchildren.
The museum also takes a public stance to advocate the rights of migrants through exhibitions, debates and seminars, including an ong0ing series of public debates and meetings in cooperation with the University of Oslo and the Anti-Racist Centre, tackling controversial themes relevant to diversity in Norway.