Bodøgaard was established by the artist Oscar Bodøgaard and his son Harald Bodøgaard in 1985, then as an underground museum. In 1988 came the second construction phase with expanded area for the collections as well as a new studio for Oscar Bodøgaard. The facility was officially opened to the public during Nordland Musikkfestuke in 1989 under the name Atelier 88. The opening exhibition consisted of Oscar Bodøgaard's paintings, Ingrid Bodøgaard's textiles and Harald Bodøgaard's sculptures. It became a big success and approximately 1200 people visited the exhibition on the opening day.
After five construction stages, the most recent in 2012, Bodøgaard - kunst & kultur was established and today the center holds Northern Norway's largest private collection of art and cultural objects.
Since then, the place has been run by Harald Bodøgaard and his wife Heidi Beate Sørensen. From 2021, the family business Bodøgaard will be continued by the third generation, their daughter Selma Bodøgaard.
The Bodøgaard collection consists of four main elements; the art collection, the icon collection, the ethnographic collection and the legacy of Oscar Bodøgaard's art.
The art collection contains several hundred art objects of both historical works and contemporary art outside and inside the facility. All the artists are connected to the Cap of the North.
The icon collection consists of approximately 250 objects and relics. The main emphasis is on about 150 ancient Russian, Polish and Greek icons. The collection also contains a very rare and special Russian handwritten gospel book from 1791 which has belonged to the Tsarist family.
The ethnographic collection consists of several thousand old objects, mainly tools and household utensils related to life in northern Norway with a department for hunting, fishing, hunting, handicrafts, crafts and agriculture. The collection also contains many Sami objects. In addition, there is a separate department for war history with special emphasis on the history of the Russian prisoner of war camp at Bodøgård.
The legacy of Oscar Bodøgaard consists of a number of works and other material that define his entire life as a visual artist and cultural worker. This means drawings and sketches, paintings and material works, as well as equipment and tools. Most of the written documentation, press material, letters and the like have been left to Arkiv Nordland.
Bodøgaard - art & culture was awarded the Sparebanken Nord - Norge Næringsfonds prize in 2003, Bodø municipality's innovation prize Vebjørn Tandberg prize in 2006 and the quality mark Olavsrosa by the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Foundation in 2008.