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The Folk Museum That's Got Folk Talking

Due for completion in February 2016, the new Romsdal Folk Museum (Romsdalmuseet) complex in Molde, Norway, will allow the museum to move from seasonal exhibits, to permanent exhibitions throughout the year, in a landmark building.

The aim is for the completed museum to become both an attraction for students of architecture, and a treasured landmark that embodies a whole region’s history and identity.

The Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive folk museums in Norway, (the Norwegians do love a folk museum) and was established in 1912 to exhibit historic buildings and interesting interiors from across the region. The new buildings were designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter AS, (RRA) an independent, Oslo-based studio, whose website ( describes the aims of the project as:

‘…letting the structure signal its meaning and function through an architectural expression and the use of place-specific materials. It should convey an open and progressive attitude that makes diverse utilization possible. The range of perspectives and activities will ensure a broad audience, with the museum becoming a living centre for the exploration of the region’s history, contemporary culture, and even future.’

RRA has realised this ambition by taking locally produced wood and concrete and fusing them in a design that sits perfectly within its natural environment. Sharp angles and timber cladding evoke a mountainous landscape, which is simply stunning and causing quite a stir among locals and the wider architectural community. ‘Based on comments from local people, there is a good atmosphere in town around this strange and unusual building.

We knew it was going to be big, but we are all a little surprised at just how huge it is!’ says Jarle Sanden, museum director at the Romsdal Museum.

Romsdal Folk Museum images: Reiulf Ramstad Architects