The community of Høyanger is located in the Sognefjord area on the west coast of Norway, a region celebrated chiefly for its traditional mountain farmsteads, of which there are 1,500 in the municipality, and for its stave churches. Høyanger became an industrial town in the early twentieth century after the establishment of hydro-electric power plants in the vicinity, followed in 1918 by an aluminium smelter, and by manufacturers who made use of the metal produced there. It is said that there are few households in Norway that do not have pots and pans made in Høyanger. The smelter, one of seven in Norway, remains in production and is part of Norsk Hydro ASA.
The industrial museum was opened by the company in 1986 and illustrates many aspects of life in Høyanger since the opening of the first hydro-electric power station. One unusual activity in the region is the holding of annual races up the flights of steps alongside the penstocks of the hydro-electric plants, one of which has no less than 2,500 steps.