The main house at Skansen was built as the first building on the customs site and was finished in 1793, following a building process lasting four years. It may be the oldest building in the town of Tromsø. Others may be older still, but this is difficult to document.

The wide ochre-painted wooden building over 1½ storeys has roofing in the form of redbrick pantiles. The logs for the notched log construction of the building came from Namdalen in Trøndelag, and the vertical plank cladding with wide planking was produced by the gate saw in Sultindvik in Målselvfjorden. The building’s first windows must have been small-paned, in the rococo style
those which today are positioned in the openings in the roof may be original. The house has mostly empire windows with cross-posts, most probably dating from rebuilding work in the latter half of the nineteenth century.