As an industrial museum, one of the Cobalt Works and Mines objectives is industrial history research and teaching. The archive forms the National Archives of Norway’s private archive number 157, Modums Cobalt Works and Mines. There are 536 archive boxes, containing around 500,000 pages. The archive material has been made available and systematised using an archive key. Measured by volume, the business and operations accounts form the bulk of the archives, around 45%. But there is also a great deal of correspondence – around 30%. These are incoming and outgoing letters, both internal and external. We find letters about production processes, working conditions, internal disputes, and the appointment or dismissal of workers.
When we started working on the archives, we formed an overview of the context between the documents. We did this by choosing the year 1836 as a year to study in more detail. This year was particularly well documented, and most types of document were represented. We were able to follow the flow of information – from the ‘uge-berigt’ (the steiger’s weekly reports to the Mine Manager), via the ‘schigt-regnskap’ (the Mine Manager’s monthly reports to the Director) and through to the ‘hovedbok’, which contained the company’s financial accounts.
The aim was to digitally log as many of the individual documents as possible. In our work on the history of the industrial company, we have focused on the private large-scale era from 1822 to 1848. The documentation relates directly to operations and to society in general. During these years, the Cobalt Works and Mines experienced a period of rapid development and growth until the 1840s.
Much of the material from the 1822 to 1849 period has been put onto microfilm. The National Archives have scanned the microfilms. Here you can find the Cobalt Works and Mines private archive in the National archives at Digitalarkivet.
The written material and physical industrial cultural monuments are important sources for anyone who wants to learn about the advanced technical and chemical processes or understand details in the archive material.
The knowledge from the archive is passed on to the public via guided tours, lectures and publications. The general public has the opportunity to read transcribed archive material which is available in the various museum buildings.
In connection with the bicentenary anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution in 2014, historian and author Ingerid Hagen started looking into how significant Modum Cobalt Works and Mines had been to the Norwegian economy in the years following 1814. The research project was affiliated to the 1814 project at the University of Oslo. The work resulted in the publication of a book to coincide with the bicentenary celebration in 2014. This was the first folder in a series. The second folder is currently being prepared.
David Eberhard Bradt – Kort beskrivelse over det kongelige Modumske Blaafarveverk i Buskerud Amt 1781, 1966
Karl Friedrich Böbert – Ueber das Modumer Blaufarbenwerk in Norwegen (1847), 1978
Knut Jordheim – Skolen, årbok for norsk skolehistorie 1987
Leif Hellerud – Folk og boplasser rundt Skuterudåsen, 1993
Tone Sinding Steinsvik: ”Koboltgruvene og blaafarveværket- en del av den store verden”, 2000.
Kjell Arnljot Wig: “Eventyret om Blaafarveværket”, 1995.
Thorvald Lindemann: ”Modums Blaafarveværk – et bidrag til dets historie” 1993.
Bergverksnettverket mining network
– national network for museums based around mining
The Cobalt Works and Mines is a member of the Bergverksnettverk mining network, which was established on 19 September 2003. The Norwegian Mining Museum is the senior museum in terms of responsibility. The mining network is a collaborative forum, the main objectives of which are to improve skills in key museum and cultural heritage tasks such as conservation, registration, documentation and teaching about mining.
The mining network has an annual seminar which the Cobalt Works and Mines last hosted in 2009. Topics in the lecture series have included management, research, teaching and renovation.