The old museum

Gjert Falch Heiberg's Museum


The Heiberg Collections – Sogn Folk Museum is named after its founder, Gert Falch Heiberg (1871-1944). He was a landowner at Amla in Kaupanger as well as an ardent collector. Around 1900 he started to collect rural antiques from Sogn and farm implements from all over Norway.
This collection proved to be the start of a life’s work of collections and a folk museum in Sogn.

This took place at the same time as Hans Aall founded the Norwegian Folk Museum at Bygdøy near Oslo and Anders Sandvig founded the Sandvig Collections at Maihaugen in Lillehammer.
We can safely say that these three men are the pioneers in developing the open-air museums in Norway. This occurred at a time when the winds of modernization swept across the Norwegian countryside. Old farm implements were discarded and replaced with new and more efficient ones. Traditional building styles, communications and social conditions were changing.

The years around the dissolution of the union with Sweden were marked by a strong sense of nationalism and an increasing self-assertion of rural culture. All this paved the way for the establishment of folk museums in Norway.

Heiberg’s museum started as a private collection, but as early as in 1909 he transferred it all to the newly established Historical Association for Sogn.
His collection then consisted of 3000 objects, one house and a runic stone. G.F. Heiberg built his museum in a beautiful location on his farm at Amla, and he was in charge of the museum until his death in 1944.
He raised a special museum building in 1905, and in 1934 he erected an even bigger building for the Sogne boats and his collection of farm implements.

Between 1903 and 1945 17 houses of various sizes from villages in Sogn were moved to the museum park.
When Heiberg died, close to 20 000 objects were catalogued in his own elegant handwriting.