In 1626, a gunpowder mill and corn mill were started on the site. Later it started production of saltpeter, linseed oil and paper. After Alvøens Papirfabrik Ltd had been manufacturing paper in Alvøen since 1797, the paper mills were stopped for good in 1981. At that time, it was the oldest paper mill in the country.
The factory and Alvøen Manor were opened as a museum in 1983, as a branch of the West Norway Museum of Decorative Art. Alvøen is one of the oldest and best preserved industrial sites in Norway. Alvøen Manor together with some forty worker cottages and production buildings date from the 1800s.
Alvøen lies at the Vatlestraumen strait, west of Bergen, where the cargo ship Rocknes hit an underwater rock and capsized in January 2004. The wreckage was towed to Alvøen, stabilised and partly examined, before being taken to the CCB base at Ågotnes in Sotra for further examination and recovery.
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