Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu
Greenland National Museum & Archives

The history of NKA

The history of museums and archives in Greenland began in Nuuk in the 1960s, when a National Museum was established as a private initiative with the support of a museum association. This museum was housed in the old Moravian mission station, where it had premises until the 1970s. The Moravian mission station was built in 1747 for missionaries from the international Moravian Church movement. Today the building houses the offices of the ombudsman for Inatsisartut – Greenland’s parliament.

In 1963 the museum opened to the public, holding its first exhibition in 1965. The museum was officially inaugurated on August 23rd 1966. The museum’s focus was collecting artefacts from Greenlandic hunting culture.


The history of museums and archives in Greenland is also the history of the country’s path to independence, since museum and archive administration was one of the first areas Greenland assumed responsibility for with the introduction of Home Rule in 1979.

The first museum legislation was implemented on January 1st 1981. The National Archives were established when the law on archives was passed on November 1st 1982.

The National Museum and National Archives were independent institutions until they joined forces as Greenland National Museum & Archives on January 1st 1991.


At the end of the 1970s restoration work on the old Royal Greenland Trading warehouse in the Colonial harbour began so the building could house the new modern National Museum. The National Museum moved in in 1978, but the restoration work continued until 1992, when a new section was allocated to the National Archives. Previously the National Archives had been housed in the city archive in the city centre. Archives are still kept here, but the building is now primarily used as the National Library. Since 2009 the National Archives have been based at Ilimmarfik (the University of Greenland).

The majority of the National Museum’s exhibition and administration buildings are in the old warehouses built around 1930-34, with an extension from 1992 housing the museum entrance and reception. You can read more about the museum buildings here.


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