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Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

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POLAR BEAR

Polar bear kills man on Arctic Norwegian archipelago

A polar bear has killed a man on Norway's Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, local officials said Friday, the sixth fatal attack in almost 50 years in the region.

Polar bear kills man on Arctic Norwegian archipelago
File photo: AFP

The incident took place overnight in a camping area near the main town of Longyearbyen, located 1,300 kilometres from the North Pole.

The man, who has not been named, was seriously wounded during the attack and died soon after, the local governor's office said in a statement.

Other people at the scene fired shots at the bear, which was later found dead in the parking lot of the local airport. People on Svalbard are advised to carry a weapon when outside urban areas.

According to a tally from 2015, the archipelago is home to about 1,000 polar bears, a protected species since 1973.

Until now, five deadly attacks on people had been recorded since 1971.

The most recent one occurred in 2011 when a bear attacked a group of 14 people camping as part of a British school trip. A 17-year-old British student was killed and four others were injured before the animal was killed.

According to experts, the shrinking icecap has reduced the polar bears' preferred hunting grounds, where they eat seals, pushing them to approach populated areas in their hunt for food.

READ ALSO: Norway fines tourist guide for scaring polar bear

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