Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
The stately Kvinnherad Church with its characteristic profile set out against the mighty Malmangernuten in the background, gives you a rare feeling of being present in a historic landscape as you come around Nes and face the well-kept houses at the Skåla farm. The church at Skåla is one of four “fjordungskirker” (one of four main district churches) and this farm was the centre of this coastal administration district.
In 1969 Sigurd and Margreta Dønhaug donated a collection of around 170 historical cultural objects to Kvinnherad municipality. They wanted their gift to become the start of a farm collection in Uskedalen. And that is what happened.
Moster is mentioned as a church site already in the time of Olav Tryggvason. According to the sagas the king is supposed to have laid the foundations for the first church at Moster when he came there in 995. That building would have been a stave church - the church standing there today – a stone church with a nave and narrower, straight chancel – was probably founded around 1100. In 1874 a new church was built at Moster. Then the old church was bought by The Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments, which is still the owner.
The stone church at Støle may have been built around 1160 probably as a private chapel for the mighty Stødle clan. It is likely that it was Erling Skakke, the king’s representative and father of king Magnus Erlingsson, who built the church.
In front of Fitjar Church there is a memorial stone, sculpted by Anne Grimdalen and erected in 1961, for the thousand-year memorial of one of the most dramatic events in Norway’s history, the Battle of Fitjar. This was the place where Norway’s king, Håkon the Good, suffered his fatal injury in the fight with Eirik’s sons, probably in the year 961.
Årskog farm is situated in a typical coastal landscape in a gentle terrain that slopes down from the outlying heaths down towards the fjord. The farm steading exists as it was in the 1800s. In 1980 the two brothers, Lars and Olai Årskog donated the farm with all its contents of tools and interior decoration, for museum purposes.
Einstapevoll (from einstape: “bregne” (fern)) lies on the west side of the Tittelsnes peninsula. Up to 1831 the farm was a vicarage belonging to Stord parish. The priests had leasing rights. Land rent and other fees from the farm was part of their salaries.
The single unit farm without a road to it, Haugsbø, is situated on the east side of the Tittelsnes peninsula facing Ålfjorden. As far back as the Middle Ages the farm has probably belonged to Stord Parish, up to the 1800s. In 1590 it was thought to be abandoned, but in 1601 Mickel Hougsbøe paid a tithe on the farm.
The main house at Færavåg was built in 1599. History tells us that a German came to Færavåg and built the house. He divided the land between his two sons. They in turn divided it between their two sons, thus there were four equal holdings on the farm. And it is said that all households lived in the same house. They each stayed in their own corner around the fire in the middle of the floor.