Norsk Folkemuseum - Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

Norsk Folkemuseum is located at Bygdøy in Oslo and has an Open-Air Museum with 160 historic buildings. A main attraction is Gol Stave Church from around 1200. The museum focuses on the time period from 1500 until present time, and in-door exhibits feature Norwegian folk costumes, folk art, church art and Sami culture. Temporary exhibits, audience programs and activities for children all year.

About Norsk Folkemuseum

Museums in the Norsk Folkemuseum foundation

Locations for rent


Contact us

Norsk Folkemuseum shows how people lived in Norway from 1500 to the present through its collections from around the country,.

Norsk Folkemuseum is Norway’s largest museum of cultural history. The160 buildings in the Open-Air Museum represent different regions in Norway, different time periods, as well as differences between town and country, and social classes. The Gol Stave Church dating from 1200 is one of five medieval buildings at the museum. The contemporary history is presented through exhibitions and documentation projects. Permanent indoor exhibitions include folk art, folk costumes, toys and Sami culture. There is also a variety of temporary exhibitions and audience programs all year round.

The Museum History

The History of the Museum

Norsk Folkemuseum was founded by Hans Aall in 1894. This time period was marked by strong national fervor and a desire for a more independent position in the union with Sweden. In 1898 the new museum was permanently established on the Bygdøy peninsula near Oslo, where the first comprehensive exhibit on cultural history was opened in 1901.

  • Norsk Folkemuseum 1914. Drawing from Aftenposten.

The World’s first open-air museum established in 1881, King Oscar’s Collection, was incorporated in 1907. Thus Gol Stave Church and five other buildings were added to Norsk Folkemuseum. An ambitious plan for further expansion was successfully completed in 1934, adding new exhibit and storage area. The museum played a central role as a research institution and issued its own publications. During the 1950s and -60s this trend continued, and the research branched out to include many academic fields.

The Directors

  • Hans Aall, director 1904-1946

  • Reidar Kjellberg, director 1947-1974

  • Halvard Bjørkvik, director 1975-1989

  • Erik Rudeng, director 1900-2000

  • Liv Hilde Boe, head curator 1991. director 2000

  • Olav Aaraas, director 2001-, CEO of The Foundationen Norsk Folkemuseum from 2016

  • Inger Jensen, head curator 2001, director Norsk Folkemuseum 2016

Visit the Open Air Museum

Buildings from rural and urban Norway – from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.

In the Open Air Museum ...

The Countryside

The Countryside contains farms and buildings from different parts of rural Norway:

The Old Town

The Old Town contains buildings from Oslo and its suburbs, and from Brevik and Kragerø.

Setesdal 1739

Daily life on a farm in a remote valley in Southern Norway.

Trøndelag 1959

Daily life on a Farmstead in the 1950s

The Apartment Building

Living in the City 1879-2002.

King Oscar II's Collection

The first Open Air Museum.