The exhibitions at Gamvik Museum spans from the first traces of human presence in the era to recent developments in the fishing sector.
What made people settle this region as soon as the icecap withdrew, in spite of the harsh climatic conditions?
According to Christian scholars, Finnmark was Ultima Thule – the End of the World. The descent to hell was supposed to be a hole in the ground somewhere on the Varanger Peninsula, and polar nights and devils spread out over the world from this place. No wonder then, that the density of witches in Finnmark was above the average.
The women of Finnmark have always participated in baiting and other land-based work vital to fishing, but they are also recognized for their vital importance to households and families. Have a glance into the world of a housewife before supermarkets, launderettes and kindergartens were parts of daily life.
Fish was not only a source of income, it was also a staple in the local diet. In many homes, fish prepared one way or another was a part of every meal.
There has been a strong sea Sami presence in the area which is today Gamvik municipality, in the last century especially along the Tana fiord. As the Norwegians on the coast specialized in fishing and the inland Sami depended upon reindeer hunting and later herding, the sea Sami depended on a variety of resources throughout the year.
Dutch whaling expeditions began to explore the waters of Finnmark in the 16th century, and the name Hollendervika (“the Dutchman’s cove”) north-west of Gamvik, may date from this era.
Trade between Norway and Russia can be traced as far back as to the Middle Ages, but only during the 18th century were the firmer patterns later to be known as “the Pomor trade” established. Pomor is a Russian expression which means “people living by the sea.”
As part of the battle to control the waterways to Kirkenes and Murmansk, the German forces constructed fortresses along the coast. One such fortress was built in Gamvik. Cannons, machine gun nests, trenches and bunkers were set up and dug out. The fortress was manned by 135 Austrian and German troops.
Since the Brodtkorb plant was closed down in the late 1960´s, there has been only one fish factory in Gamvik. Different owners have come and gone over the years, and various productions have been tried.