The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History comprises a huge park containing examples of all the major folk architectural styles from throughout Norway. It’s the oldest open air museum in the world (established as early as 1894) with 158 buildings representing different regions and time periods in the Norwegian history dating back to the 16th century. They are carefully taken apart, transported from their location and put back together again on the site:

Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #1
The Farmstead of Numedal; extends from the Hardanger plateau down to the town of Kongsberg.

So the placement of these buildings in relation to each other followed regional patterns. The loft and bur in Telemark were commonly placed side by side:
Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #2
The loft has a gallery on three sides on the upper floor and is decorated with carved floral motifs.

Not only are you able to see the houses outside, but inside it’s furnished too:
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Farmhouse from Hallingdal – 1750.

Throughout the year there are activities and exhibits of all kinds, as well as various reconstructed activities of everyday life:

Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #5 Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #8B
How about horse &carriage rides through the open-air museum?
Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #6 Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #7

You can participate in spring cleaning or buy authentic lefse, a kind of soft flat bread baked on the open fireplace like it was 200 years ago:
Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway #10
Inside an old farm house, two girls were demonstrating making the dough and baking and all gets a taste:
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They willingly shared the baking tradition and recipe – Hardanger Lefse: 2 egg, 250 gram sugar, 125 gram melted butter, ½ litre milk, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 kilo flour.
Mix egg, sugar & butter and stir in milk. Mix baking powder with some flour and blend. Mix enough flour so it’s easy to roll. Bake on a griddle or a dry pan:
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The Old Town part of the open air exhibition contains buildings from the 1600s and upwards. There is a Historic Playground and an old fashioned Grocery Store from the beginning of the 1900s as well:

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Colonial – Milk – Delicacy
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This historical museum is enjoyable for the entire family. They plan activities for the children as well, and this was always a popular place when my children were small. They loved to go in and out of these fascinating buildings, they loved to pet the horse drawing the wagon and maybe give him some hay, and they loved the children’s activities. This weekend the theme was fastelaven, or the Sunday before the Easter fast, which the Catholics call Lent. As in Mardi Gras and Carnival, the rich foods like eggs, crème and butter were supposed to be used up so we have a tradition with crème filled sweet rolls. At the museum they had mask making for a kind of Carnival experience which as you can see here the children really enjoyed!
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There is a lot more to explore and learn about Norway, our culture and history: The permanent exhibits include Folk Art, first half of the Parliament, Norwegian Folk Costumes, toys and more. The Norwegian Evening is an event held here in July and August where music, traditional dance, singing and other activities take place. I hope you will join us sometime – maybe at the Oslo Blog Gathering in August??

Update: I shared this adventure with my wife – hop over and read her report too: DianeCA

This post is part of Reiseblogg2010 – A Norwegian Travel Blog Competition.

This post is part of Reiseblogg2010 – A Norwegian Travel Blog Competition.


  1. How fun. How they did things in the old days would be fun to see. Always good to know. Never know when you may need those skills.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and Diane. :)

  2. Dearest Renny,
    it is such a wonderful surprise to see the Folkmuseet again through your amazing pictures here on your blog!!^_^ I visited it last September, when I came to Oslo for a few days, and it was a very interesting experience!!!! I took lots of pictures with those beautiful old-style farms, with the Stavkirke (which I loved so much), the lavu tent from Lapland, the folk dance performance and the old town!! If I came back to Oslo, I’d certainly go there again, it’s really worth more than one visit!!^_^ Thank you for publishing such an interesting article about this amazing place and congrats for the pictures, you’re a really good photographer for real!! ;)))
    Ciao ciao to you and Diane and have a nice week!!^_^

  3. Oh I love those old buildings! It looks like the Swedish open air museum called Skansen, located in Stockholm. Skansen claims that it is the oldest open air museum in the world! ;-) Wonder who is right?

    Interesting question and I checked: Skansen says they are established 1891 – 3 years before the Norwegian museum.

    • In 1881 king Oscar II, at that time both Norwegian and Swedish king, started moving in old Norwegian farm buildings to the royal farm at Bygdøy. Folkemuseet became the closest neighbour in 1902. After the break-up of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, the old buildings were included in the museum. So, who is the oldest is a matter of opinion, and not too interesting from my point of view. What is more important is that today we cooperate very actively with our museum friends in Stockholm! A wonderful museum!

      Olav Aaraas, director of Norsk Folkemuseum

  4. Super bilder Renny. Jeg tror vi vil dra dit neste uke med min mor. Vi var så langt bare i sommer der. I snøen det ser så flott.

    Hilsen fra Vestby,

  5. Hi, Renny. The idea of a large and open-air museum is something new to me. I didn’t hear anything about it yet so I’m sure it doesn’t exist here in our country Philippines.
    As a big museum, I’m sure it’s a lot of fun visiting the place. What will interest me there is the old architectural styles as well as the seeing the way how people live in the old days. As a photography and history buff, that must be pretty amazing in my part. The Old Town seems to be a photographer’s delight.
    Thank you very much for sharing…

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  7. it it pizza ? look tasty … by the way what kind of is it ? is it russian horse ..

    Pizza? When the post is about the Norwegian Lefse! It’s a Norwegian horse: Fjording.

  8. Renny,
    this a great report from the Museum which was neighbour to my childhood home.

    btw. I have linked Vancouver and Oslo

  9. I’ve been there and loved it! Nice to see it covered in snow :-)

  10. The bread looks like an Indian naan!

    Nice pictures and great visit, learning about Norway one blogpost at the time…!

    (Sorry we beat you at hockey yesterday, no hard feeling :lol:)

  11. Another very interesting post !
    Enjoy the Mardi Gras and Carnival

  12. This looks like a lot of fun. Are you watching the winter Olympics? The Nordic countries are very tough in the winter events. Its not surprising.

  13. Computer Science The overall design or structure of a computer system, including the hardware and the software required to run it, especially the internal structure of the microprocessor….

  14. What a marvelous place to visit! I would really enjoy to see all the different buildings from all part of Norway and at different periods.
    Lucky you are with snow! If there was a such museum here it would nice for my little pupils!!!
    Bise to you and Diane and thanks for the beautiful Valentine’s card!

    • clarence kalleklev

      Dear Claudie,
      Interesting blogg of yours! Have your heard about Bergen, the old capital of Norway? A lot more genuin than Oslo and Gateway to the Fjords. Historic museums,
      town of Ole Bull & Edvard Grieg. Old Bergen town &
      the Aqarium. Of course one of Norways finest hotels,
      Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret! Mail me for more info. Kindly ck.

  15. that bread reminds me of the indian bread! yummm.

    thanks for the tour. very interesting!

  16. That joy of cooking recipe lefse. I vividly remember my visit to the museum, we really liked. But you already know that in Norway we like everything.
    Actually the outdoor museum is impressive. I remember a building where they made the delicious lefse. Since I set foot on shore Norway I felt very well treated. You know my love for your country.
    Thanks for making me have such great memories.
    Hugs Renny


  17. Lovely, Renny! I love those rustic cabins and would feel right at home there. They’re very similar to our log cabins and hunting lodges. :-)

    I’ll have to make some lefse sometime. It doesn’t look hard to make at all.

    Happy weekend!

    Love and hugs,


  18. Nice pics Renny, i loved the snow pics a lot and the making of lefse is too good!!!

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  20. What a beautiful post, Renny! I’ve enjoyed very much to learn a lot about life and culture in your country!

    Thanks for sharing.

  21. How do I find info on a historical dedicated Joseph B. Strauss Golden Gate Bridge architectural drawing I have?

  22. When we see the beauty of Marine Drive in Mumbai we talk about the natural beauty of sea and its beach and not how the wall and approach road of the seasore is built.

  23. very interesting!! its really good that the government preserved and maintained these kind of establishments!!

    thanks for sharing Renny!

  24. Looks like a great open air musem- I love those old lofts. I’ve seen something similar in Finland many, many years ago too – as well as in Sweden of course. I wonder what more countries we can see those?

  25. Really beautiful and interesting post! Found this through Google images, when I was doing a search for Norwegian farm architecture, as part of some research I’ve been doing. Just wondering, what exactly is meant by “the loft has a gallery on three sides”?

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