Thor Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki raft crewmember Knut Haugland were behind the initiativ to build the Kon-Tiki Museum. Knut Haugland was the driving force in running and developing the museum. De was director of the museum for more than 40 years, many of them on his spare time. Internationally famous for his daring contribution during the 2. World War, Knut Haugland understood his work as contribution towards reconciliation and understanding across cultural and political boundaries. People from all parts of the world have visited the museum to see the exhibitions.
The Kon-Tiki Museum has undergone several phases of construction. When the museum received its first visitors on 15th May 1950 it was a simple wooden building.
So many people wanted to see the Kon-Tiki raft that it became necessary to build a more permanent building. This was compleeted in 1957. The Kon-Tiki raft was sent on a tour around Europe to help finance the new museum. The cities it visited included Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. In the late 1970, after Thor Heyerdahl`s expeditions across the Atlantic with RA and RA II in 1969/1970, the museum was extended to allso include Ra II.
The Kon-Tiki Museum is a privately funded non-profit organization without government funding. Countless famous people have visited the museum over the years, including HM Queen Elisabeth II, HM the King of Thailand, President Eisehower, President Clinton and Bill Gates with his family