Project Space

People at Work – An exhibition about working life at Vestfos Cellulosefabrik

People at Work
An exhibition about working life at Vestfos Cellulosefabrik


After the success of last year’s exhibition, we are offering this summer at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium a further look at the fascinating history of the factory buildings.


Our aim remains the same – to offer insights into the working lives of people at the cellulose factory.
Our 2021 exhibition will highlight the workforce and the working conditions at the factory. Who made up the workforce, what sort of jobs did people have, how much were they paid, and how long was their working day? Were some jobs regarded as typically male work and others as female work? And what about child labour? We also consider security, workers’ health, and accidents and injuries in the workplace, and look into the role of trade unions, leisure time, and cultural activities.


Last year’s exhibition, The Factory: an exhibition about Vestfos Cellulosefabrik, came into being as part of the work carried out by Vestfoldarkivet (The Vestfold Archive) to put the archives of the old factory into some order. Also this year, the historical archive of Vestfos Cellulosefabrik is our main source of information.


The archive itself has also led an ‘interesting life’, suffering in its darkest days both poor living conditions and neglect. When the factory was closed in 1970, the archive was placed in storage at the vacant Sagfogdgården (Sawmill Overseer’s house). Some ten years later it was re-housed in the cellar of Øvre Eiker Municipal Hall. And there it gathered dust until 2018, when the National Archives of Norway and Buskerud County Council financed safe and permanent storage space as part of Vestfoldarkivet. The archive, which covers some 180 metres of shelves, is searchable by the public at Arkivportalen and accessible to the public in the archive’s reading room.


In these annual exhibitions at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium we wish to bring to life people and events from the archive documents: photographs, salary accounts, job descriptions, redundancies, anniversaries, accidents. As a supplement to the archive material, we will also incorporate interviews with people who worked at the factory.


The project is supported by Viken County Council and is a collaboration between Vestfoldarkivet, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium and Eiker Arkiv.