Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oslo: The Folk Museum

By my second day in Oslo, the stenosis in my back was making it so that I had to stop and rest every 10 minutes or so, which severely limited what I was able to see and do -- and it also made me scared, sad, and downright grumpy.  I really wanted to see the Viking Ship Museum, but it was just too far of a walk from the ferry boat dock; I could not do it.  (I cried.  Really.  This was very frustrating for me; I am currently limited to the activities of someone 30 years older than I actually am.)
I did, however, manage to walk to -- and around a small part of -- the Norwegian Folk Museum, which is an open-air, living history museum.
Apparently, sometime in the 1880s, King Oscar II of Norway had a few older, traditional Norwegian buildings moved to near Oslo in an effort to preserve the country's past.  This was the beginning of the museum.
The most famous and most striking of these buildings is this stave church.

(Click to enlarge the photo.)
The church dates from the 13th century and was built in Gol, Norway.  It was moved in 1884.  It seems to be entirely made of wood, much of which is beautifully carved (around the doors and post supporting inner parts).  It's small and dark inside, but it's very lovely.  Unfortunately, it's also very popular and jammed with tourists.  (I had to wait a long time to get this shot with so few people in it.)

There are various other buildings with handy, costumed guides (mostly college students) in them.  Here's a street of buildings with the traditional sod roofs.

The school house was very tiny.  Unlike the school house in Old Deseret Village (the open-air, living history pioneer museum in SLC), where I was often slotted during my volunteer days there (terrorizing cub scout troops who didn't know that I couldn't really switch them for being disruptive), there was an actual grating put in to separate the tourists from the docents.  This made things absolutely jammed in the closet-like area where everyone wanted a chance to see.

I was lucky to get this shot by shoving my camera lens through a gap in the wire.  However, a shot a few seconds later (while my poor camera batteries were recovering from having to light up the darkness of the building) would have been better, as the "teacher" actually grabbed the girl by the ear and dragged her to stand in the corner!  (I couldn't have done that with the cub scouts!)
I later learned from another docent that these children were there for a week of summer day camp.  They go to school for part of the day and then return to their assigned "families" to garden, spin wool, chop wood, etc.  This adds to the realism for the tourists and helps the kids learn quite a bit -- more than just visiting for an hour or so.


  1. I'm a fan of tours with guides acting in the period! The summer camp for children is a great idea, it's playful, yet a great look into how children used to live! One day we'll visit Norway, my husband's grandparents came here from Norway.Lots of family history to follow. We visited the next best thing (sort of) just last summer in South Dakota.It's uncanny how they used no nails in the design! My photos aren't so great but this video rocks. I think you'll
    enjoy it . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcX7FZYq2CA

  2. Sorry to hear your back is giving you so much trouble. But the pictures and story are great!