Gol Stave Church Museum – Minot, North Dakota - Atlas Obscura
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Gol Stave Church Museum

Minot, North Dakota

This museum is a full-size replica of an original church constructed during the 13th-century.  

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Scandinavian Heritage Park is believed to be the only park dedicated to the five Nordic countries. The heritage park is operated by the Scandinavian Heritage Association and the Norsk Høstfest. The Norsk Høstfest is the largest Nordic festival in North America. The centerpiece of the park is the Gol Stave Church Museum. 

A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church. They were once commonplace across northwestern Europe. Most stave churches are located in Norway. The name derives from the building’s post and lintel construction. 

The museum opened to the public in 2000 and happens to be just one of eight stave churches in the United States. The original church was constructed in Gol, Hallingdal and moved to the Folk Museum in Oslo, Norway nearly a century ago.

After the church was saved by King Oscar II, he then paid for its relocation. The church and museum are both known for their detailed wood carvings.  Philip Odden and Elsa Bigton of Barronet, Wisconsin added more carvings along the front and side portals. They also decorated the doors of the church.

 

Know Before You Go

The Scandinavian Heritage Park located in Minot, North Dakota is a magical place where you’ll find remembrances and replicas from each of the five Scandinavian and Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.  The church is typically closed during the winter months.  The Gol Stave Church can be rented for weddings and other events.