Sandefjordmuseene was inaugurated as a donation from Consul Lars Christensen, the son of Norwegian shipyard and ship owner, Christen Christensen. Its full name is Commander Christen Christensen's Whaling Museum, also called The Sandefjord Whaling Museum . When it opened in 1917 the museum building was one of the first original museum buildings in Norway. Lars Christensen had two main goals when opening the museum; to inform the public about the Antarctic and its fauna and animal life, as it was a relatively unknown continent at the time, and to tell the story of whaling as an industry.
Since its opening, the museum has experienced some major changes including an expansion in 1981. Today, the Whaling Museum’s aim is to be a central institution in the presentation of a wide range of material connected to the history of whaling as well as the ecology and management of whales and their habitat. The museum's photo collection consists of 150,000 photographs around 30,000 of which are related to whaling. The museum is host to a host of international conferences related to marine life and to whales. Exhibits include Southern Actor, a restored whale catcher built in 1950, which is now a museum ship open to the public. The former whale ship is both a living museum and a passenger ship. 
- Wexelsen, Einar (1993) Vel blåst! Kommandør Chr. Christensens Hvalfangstmuseum 75 år (Sandefjord: Hvalfangstmuseets publikasjon nr. 28)