Welcome to Østfoldmuseene

The Østfold Museum Foundation is the collective umbrella for Borgarsyssel Museum, Fredrikstad Museum, Folkenborg Museum, Halden historical Collections, The Canal Museum at Ørje, Hvaler Coastal Museum, Moss Town and Industry Museum, Storedal Cultural Center, Østfold County Photographic Archive and The Museum Service.

A museum should be an active community resource and as such has an important role, both as a source of information and as a cultural arena. Its principal purpose, as a museum, is to research, collect, conserve and exhibit its collection, both artefacts and the natural and cultural/historical development. The Østfold Museum’s collections are a rich source of information and relate the story of a region marked by important names and events, a diverse natural history, industrialisation, initiative and everyday life for better or worse.

Our stories stretch from Olav the Holy’s founding of the town of Borg in 1016, to more recent industrial developments and contemporary design. We describe the stone-quarrying industry, life in the inns and pubs and agriculture before the age of the tractor; the development of the region’s natural landscape through the ages and the importance of the Halden canal in the growth of commerce in the area.

We endeavour to follow the historical thread right up to the present day. Our child-friendly ways of conveying information are attractive to children—both those who visit us on their own and those who come with one of the region’s schools, with whom we work closely. We have made a particular effort to reflect Norway’s cultural diversity in everything we do.

Borgarsyssel museum

Borgarsyssel Museum is an open-air museum with buildings from all over Østfold County. There is a medieval park with ruins from St. Nicolas chruch from the 1100s, as well as a herbal garden.

The city Borg was founded in the Viking Age and emerged in the Middle Ages. From 2016 there will be a new exhibition building and visitors can look forward to see new exhibitions for Sarpsborgs 1000 years anniversary.

Skigar Borgarsyssel. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug
Skigar Borgarsyssel. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug

Folkenborg museum

The museum is located approx. 2 km south of Mysen and is an open-air museum with old houses. They form an estate with a cotter’s farm and with several living farm animals. The Narvestad building dating from 1724 has interesting interiors, and the museum has a large agricultural collection as well as a special collection of horsedrawn carriages and sledges.

There are contemporary exhibitions (art, photographs etc.) throughout the year in the new exhibition barn. There is also a small shop and a café at the museum.

Hagastua til venstre, Gutustua til høyre. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug
Hagastua til venstre, Gutustua til høyre. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug

Fredrikstad Museum

Fredrikstad Museum is located in Tøihuset in Gamlebyen, one of Northern Europe’s best preverved fortified towns.

It was founded in 1567. In Tøihuset, visitors will find ehibtions about the town’s history, wars, town fires and how the daily life was at the fortress – as well as temporary exhibtions.

The Kongsten Fortress from 1687 from 1685 is within a walking distance from Tøihuset. You can also visit Isegran, the peaceful and historic island where the famous commander Tordenskiold had his base. Also visit the beautiful Elingaard Manor and find out who Lady Birthe was.

Elingaard Herregård.
Elingaard Herregård.

Halden historical Collections

Halden historical Collections administers the Rød Manor, Fredrikshalds Theatre, the museums at the Fredriksten Fortress, Berg Bygdetun and Bomuldspinderiet.

Fredrikshald Theatre from 1838 is the only remaining baroque theatre in Norway and as Rød Manor they offer guided tours in the summer season. The museums in the Fredriksten Fortress house exhibitions about wars including the famous Swedish king Charles XII who was shot there in 1718. Fredriksten Fortress is the most visited tourist attraction in Østfold County.

Låven på Rød herregård. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug
Låven på Rød herregård. Foto: Espen Nordenhaug

Hvaler Coastal Museum

Hvaler Coastal Museum is the only museum in Østfold focusing on coastal culture. The museum is located at Nordgården, Dypedal on Spjærøy, Hvaler.

Up until the 1800’s, agriculture and fishing were the main industries on Hvaler. Soon after the stone cutting industry arrived. What kind of impact did this industry have on the Hvaler islanders? Find out more about the fisherman, the stonecutter or just take a walk in the beautiful garden filled with apple, pear and plum trees.

Åpning av sommerutstillingen 2015 på Kystmuseet Hvaler (Foto: Gaute Jacobsen, Østfoldmuseene)
Fra åpning av sommerutstillingen 2015 på Kystmuseet Hvaler (Foto: Gaute Jacobsen, Østfoldmuseene)

Moss Town- and Industry Museum

Moss Town- and Industry Museum has an unique historical location in two of the old mill buildings, right between the waterfall and the city.

The museum tells the history about the Morsa river, the falls and the power and how crucial these elements were for early industry. Some of the exhibitions will give you a deeper insight in some of these cornerstone industries. In the 1930’s, modern functional buildings popped up in Moss, and in the Architectural cabinet at the museum you can experience the practical and aesthetic elements which comprise architectural design.

Verket Moss og de gamle arbeiderboligene. Foto: Espen A. Nordenhaug
Verket Moss og de gamle arbeiderboligene. Foto: Espen A. Nordenhaug

Storedal

Storedal is a cultural centre situated between Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad near The road of the Ancients. 

The Founder Erling Storedal was blind and his idea was to give blind people an unique opportunity to make cultural discoveries. The main attraction is the sound sculpture «Ode to the light». In the beautiful park there is also an amphitheatre, an awarded garden with 200 different plants and a rock carving exhibition depicting life here in the Bronze Age. One of the carvings indicates the Bjørnstadship, the largest rock carving in Northern Europe.

Bilde fra Sansehagen på Storedal. Foto: Hege-B Lindemark, Østfoldmuseene)
Sansehagen på Storedal med skulpturen «Ode til lyset» i bakgrunnen.( Foto: Hege-B Lindemark, Østfoldmuseene)

The Canal Museum at Ørje

Haldenvassdragets Kanalmuseum, The Canal Museum at Ørje, is a cultural and natural history museum close to the Swedish border.

The exhibitions show the ecosystem and symbioses between people, animals, the water and the forest – and how people lived and worked with logdriving and timber in this area.

The museum also displays marine life and ecosystems from the river and if you look closely you can see istidskreps (a type of crawfish). In 1849 Norway’s first locks opened at Ørje. From the museum you can go for a stroll by the old locks and watch the small steamboats on the river.

Ørje Bruk. Foto: Espen Olsen