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.

  • Folkemuseet i 1914
    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
    Hans Aall, director 1904-1946
  • Reidar Kjellberg
    Reidar Kjellberg, director 1947-1974
  • Halvard Bjørkvik
    Halvard Bjørkvik, director 1975-1989
  • Erik Rudeng
    Erik Rudeng, director 1900-2000
  • Liv Hilde Boe
    Liv Hilde Boe, head curator 1991. director 2000
  • Olav Aaraas
    Olav Aaraas, director 2001-, CEO of The Foundationen Norsk Folkemuseum from 2016
  • Inger Jensen
    Inger Jensen, head curator 2001, director Norsk Folkemuseum 2016