When Munch died in January 1944, it transpired that he had unconditionally bequeathed all his remaining works to the City of Oslo. Edvard Munch's art is the most significant Norwegian contribution to the history of art, and he is the only Norwegian artist who has exercised a decisive influence on European art trends, above all as a pioneer of Expressionism in Germany and the Nordic countries.
The Munch Museum opened in 1963 and was purpose-built to house this unique collection of approximately 1100 paintings, 4500 drawings and 18 000 prints. Major works will always be on display in the museum. The selection is changed regularly. In 1994, expansion and rehabilitation of the museum was financed by the Japanese company Idemitsu Kosan Ltd. The museum was partly rebuilt in 2005 to upgrade security.
The museum's programme also comprises film screenings, audioguides, concerts, guided tours and lectures. The museum has a shop with catalogues and souvenirs and a café that serves salads, pastries, sandwiches etc. The museum's library houses literature on Edvard Munch and other artists.