We spent the day at the Norsk Folkemuseum – The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History – and it was the kind of museum that scratched all the right itches for me: a museum focused almost exclusively on how regular everyday people live their regular everyday lives. In other words houses, farm yards, gardens, apartments, shops, barns; a collection spanning hundreds of years.
While the collection of grass-roofed farm buildings was impressive, and the stave church was awe-inspiring, my favourite sections of the museum concerned history since 1960 – my history, in other words, albeit in Norway. There was a gasoline station. An apartment block with each apartment decorated for a different era. A corner shop. A working farm. The attention to detail was remarkable, the interpretation well-done (in English and Norwegian) and, given the beautiful weather today for our visit, the afternoon walk a welcome respite from urban tourism.
The Folkemuseum is located in a museum-rich district of Oslo: nearby is the Viking Ship Museum is right next door, and that’s where we spent the late morning. I found myself unexpectedly moved by the Viking burial ships on display there, and, especially, by the artifacts found within them (leather shoes, cooking implements, sledges, fabric).