Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Living in history

If you are ever in Oslo and want to learn about Norway, I heartily recommend our open air museum on Bygdøy. The Norsk Folkemuseum gives you a visual tour of how Norwegian have lived since the 1500. It started in 1894, and is in reality a collection of houses and whatever people needed to do their jobs, or live their lives. 

It is just amazing what they have collected!

They have actually moved! all these houses from where they originally were built, down to Oslo, and then put them together again, brick by brick, or plank by plank. With all the different interiors.

This is an old stave church from 1200, from Gol.

They have small fields in some of the areas where they plant some of the things that was normal for that particular area. They have for instance a small field for flax, keep sheep, pigs, horses and farm cats:)

I love walking around there. It is a quiet oasis in the city (not that Oslo is that noisy) and it makes you feel like you have been transported back in time. In some houses, you can see women dressed in the appropriate garbs of the time doing chores; like baking bread in a wooden stove, knitting, cooking etc.

There are also different exhibitions. One of my favourites is the folk dress museum. Norway have official folk dresses for every area of the country, the dress that was originally used for all the big happenings in life. Today, we still use them for wedding, baptisms, confirmations, 17 May etc. The exhibition shows some of the older dresses, and some of the details from the different areas. The craftmanship is amazing considering most of this was done in the evening, after all the chores were done, and in candle light! I guess most people did not need glasses at that time....

There is an old Norwegian saying: The devil finds work for idle hands (hence my tag on the blog - no idle hands:)). Norwegian women were for generations taught to always keep busy with their hands, which meant that they would even knit while looking after the cattle. The folkdresses are masterpieces of handcraft, made by ordinary women who were taught by their mothers and grandmothers.

Someone once said that by knitting, you were tied into other knitters from the past to the present. Same goes for all crafts, I think. I hope we never loose the knowledge of these different crafts. My secret obsession is to learn as many old crafts as I can:) I might even share some of them here soon.


Richard said...

I do love to read your discussions. Thank you for putting so much effort into describing what you see in the world.

It makes me think back to my family's visit to Norway in 1990, and the old stave church we visited then. I wonder if it is the same one?

kahti said...

What a wonderful gift history and knowledge is. Thank you for sharing and making our lives richer...