The town of Fagerness that has 2000 inhabitants, has much to offer: shops, restaurants and the Open Air Museum Fagernes in Valdres, where more than 93 traditional wooden farmhouses can be admired.
Valdres Museum was founded on 10 March, 1901, in a rush of patriotism, cultural pride and optimism. Behind the foundation lay the idea of what a greater awareness of the past might mean for the future of the people of Valdres. Since 1901 the museum has acted as a sounding board to the saga of life in the old days. The collection provides important bits and pieces for the writing of history but has just as much value as a bridge to the country of the past, a holy place for people seeking their roots or explanations of their own identity. Yes, Valdres Museum of Folk Art and Culture aims to help people explain historical connections but it also aims to help them make links to this country of the past – that we do not know, understand or can explain.
Since 2006 Valdres Museum has been part of the Valdres Museums, a museum organisation responsible for the Bautahaugen Collections, Bagn Countryside Collection, the Gardberg Iron Age burial site and the National Institute for Folk Costumes in Norway in addition to Valdres Museum itself.
The aims of Valdres Museums are preservation, communication and research linked to the local cultural heritage. Valdres Museum is an important partner in regional development, especially within culture, the preservation of the cultural heritage, tourism and agriculture.
The reception building
In the summer of 2010 the new reception building was opened. Designed by Lund Hagem Architects AS, it shows some resemblance to building traditions found at the museum. In form and materials the building seems to be a modern interpretation of the old outfield hay barns we can see dotted about the valley’s cultural landscape. The Reception building houses a shop, café, toilets, exhibition rooms and a banqueting hall. The basement contains a special store for textiles and instruments.
The reception building is linked to the administration building and houses the offices of the museum’s employees and of the National Institute for Folk Costumes in Norway. The store for objects is in the basement as well as a study centre in memory of Knut Hermundstad (1888–1976), folklore researcher and former director of the museum.
In the summer season there are many activities at Valdres Museum: daily guided tours in several languages and traditional dishes are served at Nystøga (no. 30), a former coaching inn. You can also listen to local youngsters play the hardingfele or langeleik and dance springar or halling in good old Valdres tradition. Concerts, festivals, farm weeks at Kvie farmyard, making butter and cheese on the mountain farm, courses in various handicrafts, livestock on the pastures, cottage craftsman at work; these key words give some idea of the wealth of arrangements, big and small, that the museum can offer its visitors.
Culture Cluster in Valdres
Valdres Museum is host to the biggest culture cluster in Valdres. Here you will find the country’s oldest folk music festival, the Jørn Hilme-stemnet, the week’s summer seminar for young folk musicians, Strunkeveko, open air theatre Sol av Isfolket, the periodical Folkemusikk, the East Norwegian Folk Music centre, Valdres folk costume tailors, Folk Costume Sewing and the advisor for the conservation of buildings in Valdres.
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