Maihaugen Open Air Museum
Photos by Esben Haakenstad/Bård Gundersen/Caroline Strømhylden/Morten Nordli/Stein Gunnar Nørsterud
Exhibitions, guided activities and regular events
A popular open-air museum

Maihaugen is the perfect place to experience what life looked like in Norway in the past. The Open Air Museum has more than 200 historic houses and buildings from as far back as the 13th Century to the present day. Many of these are open for you to enter.

In some of the houses you will at summer time meet actors dressed in costumes from the time period they represent, or guides in traditional clothing. Experience farm life in the late 1800s or meet the teenager at home in the 1980s house. The museum is possibly best known for the houses in the Rural section. The many sunburned buildings were the homes of farmers, craftsmen and local officials. Here you will meet the culture and the way of life of the old farming community. 

The Town at Maihaugen is designed to look like an inland town in the early part of the 1900s. In summer there is plenty of life, many activities, and a wide range of experiences for everyone. Another exciting part of the museum is the residential area. You will find detached houses representing the various decades of the 1900s, and you can see the development of home standards and family life. 

A cultural landscape reveals the relationship between people and nature. At Maihaugen you can see how people of all times have shaped the landscape around them. Maihaugen works purposely on its cultural landscape and takes part in organized conservation work to preserve threatened species of farm animals in Norway. At summer the animals are grazing around the area, and are happy to meet the guests.  


*Due to the Covid-19 situation the program this summer will deviate from the normal program. Please see websites for more information.

Maihaugvegen 1

2609 Lillehammer


+47 61 28 89 00


The history of Maihaugen

Since 1887

Anders Sandvig was a dentist and arrived in Lillehammer in 1885. He started collecting artifacts two years later, because of childhood memories and feelings, as well as a concern that the local cultural heritage would be taken away from the district, especially to the Nordiska Museum in Stockholm.  

He travelled through Gudbrandsdalen practicing dentistry, and used his free time to buy old artifacts. The purchases became more planned as time went on and he purchased the first building in 1894, which later became the foundation of the Open Air Museum at Maihaugen. He sold the collection to Selskapet til Lillehammer Bys Vel in 1901and the collection became a public museum with government support from this time onwards. Sandvig continued as the manager of the museum until 1946. The aim was to display a collection of homes, and to have a variety of homes, to allow the museum to display a complete village society with homes and different society functions. 


What we do
Daily activities The museum is open all year, however with a larger program at summertime, when Maihaugen’s “inhabitants” are happy to tell stories from the life on the farms around the 1800’s and the homes from the 1900’s. You can also participate in walking plays and guided tours that takes you on a journey back in time. Every day from mid-June to mid-August you can enjoy the amusing walking play Flora, fauna and flatbread, that are included in the ticket.
Maihaugens julemarked 2019 - Foto Caroline Strømhylden 66.jpg
Regular events At the Christmas market you can experience the good old Christmas feeling. The Christmas market takes place during the first weekend of Advent and thousands of visitors come to Lillehammer. At the Christmas market there is a workshop sale, market sale, entertainment, lots of good food and lots of activities for children. The common denominator is quality.
Exhibitions and handicrafts There are always several exhibitions at Maihaugen at Lillehammer. Some are permanent for many years whilst others are temporary. The exhibitions are located in the Open Air Museum and inside the visitor center.  In several of the houses in the Town there are exhibitions of various handicraft environments. All year there are craftsmen doing various works around the museum, the guests are welcome to a chat with them.

Our services

Maihaugen Open Air Museum can offer a wide variety of services and cultural experiences for individual travelers and groups alike.
What we can provide:
Open air museum

Maihaugen Open Air Museum can offer a wide variety of services and cultural experiences for individual travelers and groups alike.

Guided tours and activities

Different guided tours in the Open Air Museum all year on request.
 Tailor-made activities and guided tours on request, for example team buildings and different walks back in time where you meet «inhabitants» from different time periods.

Museum shop

The museum shop in the visitor center offers a large assortment of different goods, such as Norwegian jewelry, silk scarves and knitted garments, ceramics, glass products. Also linen and wooden articles , children's' toys, beautiful notebooks and other books are to be found.

Museum café

The café at Maihaugen has beautiful views of Garmo Stave Church, the lake Mjøsa and the city. Our café serves cakes, waffles and a selection of lunches. The café is open in the museum's opening hours. In the summer, you also find places to eat in the Open Air Museum. Kirkestuen serves  everything from waffles to traditional food and is located just opposite the main building.

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