The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is the world’s oldest open-air museum dedicated to preserving the traditional Norwegian way of life and local folk customs for future generations. Discover the cultural history of Norway; free entry with your Oslo Card.
With more than 160 original buildings from the Middle Ages to our times from all different regions of the country, the museum allows visitors to discover Norway’s cultural history from more than 500 years in an exciting and immediate way.
Located on the Bygdøy peninsula close to the center of Oslo, the history of the museum goes back to the year 1894. This period saw an increased interest in national history and heard voices demanding a stronger Norwegian position in the union with Sweden grow louder. Establishing a museum dedicated to the long and rich history and customs of Norway’s various regions – from the rugged coastline and deep fjords of the south to the mountains and deep forests of the east and the frozen north – therefore served as served as an important way of celebrating the country’s cultural heritage in all its diversity. And since opening of the first exhibit to the public in 1901, the museum has been one of Norway’s most famous and popular attractions.
Today, buildings from the Norwegian countryside and urban centers dating back several centuries provide visitors with a unique glimpse into how people of all classes and occupations lived, what customs they followed, and what traditions they held dear. Through its vast collection of buildings that are typical for particular regions in Norway, the Folk Museum allows visitors to travel back in time and through the entire country in one single visit.
This one-of-a-kind collection includes a traditional apartment building from Oslo where eight originally preserved apartments illustrate the way in which living conditions changed from 1879 to today’s time. Another exciting and incomparable structure is the Gol Stave Church. Dating back to around the year 1200, this wooden stave church is a breathtaking example of medieval craftsmanship that blends folk art, Nordic mythology, and Christian iconography.
Additionally, a host of permanent and temporary exhibits illuminate a wide variety of themes and topics, ranging from folk art and folk costumes to Sami culture, religious art and original displays of traditional occupations. In the summer, the museum even offers live demonstrations of old handicrafts and animal feeding.