Gamslett fishermans farm is Nord-Troms museums historical site in Lyngen municipality.
Gamslett is a typical fishermans farm that can be dated to the 18th century. The settlement in the area around Gamslett is old. Written sources tell us that there were people lived here in 1569, and a settlement with year round living in 1610. Four of the named settlers were named Svendsen, which probably have given the area its name, Svensby.
The fisherman farmer way of life was the norm in North Troms all the way up to the 1950s. People lived off what the land could provide in the different seasons. They usually lived of a combination of fishing, farming and gathering natural resources. Both fishing at home and the large fishing seasons in Lofoten and Finnmark was important for survival. Fishing was traditionally considered men’s work, but women could also do the fishing necessary to make sure there was food on the table. There were many superstitions connected to fishing, including that seeing your wife on the way to go fishing was bad luck.
But the women were essential. She made sure he had everything he needed for his Lofotkiste, the chest with food, clothes, and equipment necessary to survive months of sea fishing in winter. While the men were away, she also was responsible for running the farm, both animals and fields in addition to caring for home and children. The farm and the objects displayed gives us an understanding of the traditional fisherman farmers way of life
Gamslett farm today consists of a house, a stable, a traditional reconstructed barn, a shed, an outhouse and a boat house. In addition, there is a garden with the plants usually found at such farms, including hops, rhubarb, and tansy. Through this farm Nord-Troms museum shows the way of life of most of the coast dwelling inhabitants of North Troms until recent times. Today the farm looks like it would have around 1900.
The Gamslett collection
The Gamslett collection was originally a private collection gathered by Alf Gamslett (1916-1975). He grew up on the farm and was passionately interested in local history. He was both given and bought old objects from the surrounding area and he started to display them in his home. He collected most of his life and by his death the collection had grown to over 2000 objects. In his will he stated that he wanted his collection and farm to be the basis of a new historical museum dedicated to local history. When Nord-Troms museum was founded in 1979 it was decided that Gamslett should be a part of this organisation.
Gamslett has its own volunteer interest group, called the friends of Gamslett. The leader is Inge Storsteinnes.
How to get there
The farm is found ca. 500 metres north of Svensby ferry quay. Travelling time from Tromsø is about an hour including the ferry between Breivikeidet and Svensby