See six centuries of Norwegian history brought to life at this entertaining open-air museum that is perfect for the whole family.
The Norsk Folkemuseum, or Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, offers a fascinating picture of life throughout the past 600 years. Combining both an expansive outdoor museum with original period buildings, and an indoor museum dedicated to showcasing artefacts and visual displays, this venue provides an entertaining and educational approach to Norway’s rich heritage.
The museum was first established in 1894 by the historian Hans Aall, and is famous for being the first open-air museum in the world. There are now over 150 buildings, all carefully relocated from around the country. As you wander around the cobbled streets, you’ll encounter historical interpreters in period costume who truly bring the scenes to life.
One of the oldest and most significant structures is the Gol Stave Church, a wooden building dating back to the early-13th century with an interior that is adorned with wood carvings and artwork from the 1650s. This is one of five medieval buildings that you’ll discover here.
Step inside the dwellings in the Old Town section, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, to explore kitchens, living areas and sleeping areas filled with original appliances and furnishings. To complete the full spectrum of cultural history, the 1865 tenement building comprises rooms that reflect fashions from 1879 to 2002.
Explore the galleries of the indoor museum to admire the collection of everyday objects from the past 500 years, including furniture, tapestries, clothing, toys, musical instruments and tools. There is also a large number of original photographs from the 1850s onwards.
Since 1958, the museum has held a large number of items from the Sami culture, an indigenous people from the northern territories of Norway. Learn all about this ancient culture from this insightful exhibition, incorporating everything from traditional clothing and crafts, to audio recordings of the Sami language.
The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is open every day, except on major public holidays. Discounted family tickets are available. The museum is located five kilometres from central Oslo. Take the number 30 bus from the city centre, or travel by ferry during the summer months. Alternatively, on-site parking is available for a fee.