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The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture was established by The Scientific Research Fund’s department for the humanities. In the statutes from 1922, it says that ” the Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture …should be a free independent scientific institute whose objective it is to promote research within the areas that are indicated by its name”. The institute has worked with the exploration of arctic cultures, especially the Sami population, comparative folkloristic research, the study of Caucasian and Iranian languages and the age of migration.

In 1928 the institute took up the study of the Norwegian farming community’s ways of development. This was the starting point for three large studies: ”Pastures and homestead in Norway” (1928-1939), ”Farming communities and neighbourhood communities in Norway” (1943-1975) and ”Old farming in Norway” (1947-1962). The institute organized courses of lectures and ran an extensive publishing activity.

The archive of the farming community department was handed over to the National Archives in 1975, and more material came in at the end of the nineties when the activity had ended.

Among other things, the archive of the homestead investigation contains a photo collection. Large parts of the country are represented. Most of the photos have been taken by architect Halvor Vreim at the end of the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s. He was an expert on building traditions and the photos were among other things meant for illustration.