open air museum

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ASTRA open-air museum in Sibiu (Hermannstadt) in Transylvania / Romania .

An open-air museum (also open- air museum , open-air museum or museum village ) is an institution in which a collection of monuments preserved, converted or reconstructed at the original location ( in situ ) - often including their furnishings - is made accessible to the public. The aim of the open-air museum is to inform visitors about a particular subject and / or an epoch. Open-air museums preferably show buildings and facilities from bygone times. They offer an impression of the construction and, if necessary, way of life at that time.

Definition and history

Folklore open-air museums

Old windmills in the Pirogov Open Air Museum in Kiev , Ukraine

The most common type of open-air museum is the folklore (or ethnological) museum. In the vast majority of cases, they are scientifically managed institutions for the preservation, research and presentation of evidence of pre- or early industrial rural living, working and living. On their premises, the historical buildings are usually moved from their original locations and combined to form new, thematic ensembles (mill museum). In addition to availability, selection criteria are age and condition, the importance and relevance of the content to be conveyed with the respective building under museum conditions. Ideally, but rarely, it is an ensemble of buildings that are in their original locations (in situ) , such as the Schwerin-Mueß open-air museum on Lake Schwerin .

Open-air museums can provide a more intensive understanding of the living conditions of times past than books or films can. Even a very detailed textual description cannot provide the same insight into living conditions as the sensual experience of a stay in original buildings with authentic furnishings. This is especially true when this open-air museum is “alive”, which means, for example, baking bread is just as possible as smelling the smells of plants or animals. These direct emotional experiences can trigger a subsequent need for theoretical deepening. In any case, the association with sensual experiences can deepen the knowledge from theoretical occupation in such a way that they remain stored in the memory for a long time.

In addition, many open-air museums are also dedicated to collections (e.g. traditional costumes , folk art , forest glass , ceramics , tools ) or the preservation of the gene reservoir of domestic animals and crops that are threatened with extinction.

The collection of King Oskar II, considered the world's first open-air museum, with Gol stave church (around 1900, before it was taken over by the Norsk Folkemuseum ).
Fisherman's cottage in the Kashubian Open Air Museum ( Wdzydze Kiszewskie , Poland )
Old Bohemian chalup in the museum of Přerov nad Labem (Old Prerau on the Elbe) in the Czech Republic
Bielefeld farmhouse museum May 1995: Meierhof (a short time later completely destroyed by fire) and post mill
The Etno village of Selo Stanišić

Ornamental Farms as a forerunner

The idea of ​​exhibiting individual agricultural buildings or entire villages as show objects was cultivated by the aristocracy as early as the 18th century in the form of the so-called ornamental farm . The initial idea was to integrate existing agricultural areas into a castle park. This idea then developed further in the middle of the 18th century to the effect that the agricultural objects (farmhouses, mills, dairies etc.) were placed in the park for no practical purpose. They became a pure, romantic staffage in which the high-ranking ladies and gentlemen could play romantic country life - or whatever they thought it was - for a few hours.

Early startups

In the course of the " homeland security movement " emerging across Europe in the wake of industrialization , the first efforts to save evidence of the "traditional" (= pre-industrial) were undertaken in Scandinavia towards the end of the 19th century. Predecessors, such as the idealized Hameau de la Reine village built by Marie Antoinette in Versailles , did not serve any scientific goals.

  • The Swedish open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm , founded in 1891, was the starting point for all other European open-air museums.
  • The collection of houses compiled by King Oskar II , founded in 1881 and part of the Norwegian open-air museum Norsk Folkemuseum in today's Oslo since 1907 , was a model for Skansen in Stockholm.
  • The open-air museum Skanzen Přerov nad Labem in Alt Prerau on the Elbe, today Přerov nad Labem (Czech Republic) was founded in 1895, the first open-air museum in Eastern and Central Europe and with the support of Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria-Tuscany .
  • The Low German Fachhallenhaus , which comes from the town of Ostenfeld , about 15 km east of Husum , is probably the oldest German open-air museum - it was brought to Husum in 1899.
  • The first central open-air museum in Denmark was established in Lyngby near Copenhagen in 1901 . The Glud Museum followed in Jutland in 1912 .
  • The Kashubian Ethnographic Park (Kaszubski Park Etnograficzny) is the oldest open-air museum in Poland. In 1906 the village, abandoned by its inhabitants in search of work, became an open-air museum on the initiative of the couple Theodora and Isidor Gulgowski.
  • The Heidemuseum Dat ole Huus in Wilsede was founded in 1907.
  • The open-air museum in Bremerhaven-Speckenbüttel was founded in 1908.
  • Also in 1908 the construction of the open-air museum Bunge on Gotland , Sweden began
  • The first German attempt to found a larger open-air museum took place in Koenigsberg (Prussia) in 1909 , but the farmhouses shown were not relocated original buildings, but rather reconstructions of houses from different regions of East Prussia and Lithuania. In 1940 this museum was dismantled and brought to Hohenstein , where it can be visited today as part of the Polish Open Air Museum .
  • In June 1910, the Ammerland farmhouse open-air museum was completed and opened in Bad Zwischenahn
  • The Diesdorf open-air museum in the Altmark was founded in 1911.
  • The central open-air museum of the Netherlands was built in Arnhem from 1912 .
  • The open-air museum on the island in Stade was built in 1913 and opened to the public in 1914.
  • The Thuringian farmhouses in Rudolstadt consist of three houses from the 17th and 18th centuries. They were dismantled in the surrounding villages in 1913/14 and rebuilt in the Rudolstadt city park.
  • The first open-air museum in Westphalia is the Bielefeld Farmhouse Museum . The main building was the "Haus Meier zu Ummeln " from 1606 , which was moved there in 1915/17. This building was destroyed by fire in 1995.
  • The wine village of Koblenz was built from August 8th to September 13th, 1925 for the “Reichsausstellung Deutscher Wein”. It consisted of four reconstructed half-timbered houses that represented the various German cultivation areas. Destroyed in the Second World War, the wine village was rebuilt in a simplified manner by 1951. Today it is used by restaurants.
  • The Parcul Etnografic “Romulus Vuia” was founded in 1929 as the first open-air museum in Romania .
  • For the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona , the Poble Espanyol was built as a “typical” Spanish village. It was supposed to be dismantled after the world exhibition, but it still exists today. Farming villages as part of large exhibitions were nothing new at the time. The most attractive and notable part of the Ethnographic Exhibition in Prague 1895 was the exhibition village. At the Budapest Millennial Exhibition in 1896, folk buildings from all over Hungary were on display. Neither has been preserved.
  • More newly built “typical” villages have been emerging in the Serbian-speaking area since around the year 2000 : Etno Selo Stanišić in the Serbian part of Bosnia & Herzegovina from 2003 and not far away is the coastal village (Drvengrad) in Serbia .

The museum village of Cloppenburg ( Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony ), founded in 1934, is considered the first larger "central" open-air museum in Germany . The oldest open-air museum in southern Germany is the Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen , which opened in 1922 .

Post-war foundations

The oldest agricultural open-air museum in southern Germany is the Swabian Farm Museum ( Illerbeuren in Bavaria ) , which originally opened as a museum farm in 1955 . In the 1960s, a wave of open-air museums was founded. Facilities such as the LVR open-air museum in Kommern or the LWL open-air museum in Detmold with currently over 100 hectares of land and over 110 buildings were created. In 1965 the Schleswig-Holstein Open Air Museum was founded. From the 1970s onwards, another wave of founders also hit the German south. In addition to facilities such as the 38-hectare Upper Bavarian Open-Air Museum Glentleiten , which opened in 1976, and the Franconian Open- Air Museum in Bad Windsheim , which was built in 1979, smaller regional museums have emerged which, in contrast to "central" open-air museums, have the existence and continuity of the local reference and the authenticity typical of the region (connection of House and landscape form). The Swiss Open Air Museum Ballenberg is of outstanding importance for Switzerland . In addition to the Austrian Open-Air Museum in Stübing in Styria, the most famous are the Salzburg Open-Air Museum in Großgmain and the museum village of Niedersulz in Lower Austria.

Open-air museums outside of German-speaking countries

The oldest open-air museum in Norway is today's Norsk Folkemuseum, founded in 1894. Its oldest parts are the collection of houses compiled by King Oskar II in 1881. Shortly afterwards - supported by growing national awareness and Norway's independence from Sweden - a start-up boom for regional open-air museums began. Most of the Norwegian open-air museums that still exist today were founded between 1894 and 1915. In the post-war period, some established settlements such as Agatunet or historical trading centers such as Kjerringøy gamle handelssted were turned into museums with buildings that were preserved in situ. Around the turn of the millennium, many small cultural and historical museums, industrial museums and open-air museums were combined into larger organizational units and these were equipped with professional museum management. Usually this was done at the level of the respective province.

The Nederlandse Openluchtmuseum Arnhem , the Openluchtmuseum Bokrijk in Belgium or the Écomusée d'Alsace (open-air museum of Alsace) in Ungersheim near Mulhouse , the latter originally with its own, advanced conceptual approach, namely the inclusion of the environment. The Écomuséee d'Alsace was sold to an operator of commercial theme parks in 2006. The largest open-air museum in Hungary, the Skanzen (Szabadtéri Néprajzi Múzeum), has been built on 60 hectares since 1967 . It is located in Szentendre and has a scientific research institute. Since 2009, one of the special features has also been a historic diesel multiple unit that opens up the area to standard gauge.

Some open-air museums are, especially in the summer months, depending on the museum size, with people in the respective traditional costumes, from the Stone Age to the beginning of the 20th century.

Opened in 1965, the Meiji Mura Open-Air Museum in Inuyama in Aichi Prefecture (Japan), which comprises more than 60 restored and rebuilt buildings, is a mixture of an archaeological open-air museum and urban complex.

Principles of the work of open-air museums

The work of the open-air museums is committed to the criteria of the international museum council ICOM (museum) in all areas . On June 15, 2007, among others, the heads of the 10 largest open-air museums in Germany founded the open-air museum specialist group within the German Museum Association. In addition, there are various associations and cooperation forums at regional as well as national and European level, such as the “ The Seven in the South ” or the Open-Air Museum Working Group in Central Germany , and at European level the Association of European Open-Air Museums or Exarc . The umbrella organization for North American open-air museums is the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums . Within the ICOM there is the International Association of Agricultural Museums .

Open-air museums are among the most frequently visited museums; according to current surveys by the Berlin Institute for Museum Research , the German open-air museums have around 6 million visitors annually.

Urban plants

Market square in Hessenpark
Statue of Kuan Yin in the Mueang Boran Open Air Museum

A variant of the open-air museums are museums that do not represent a village but a city.

The largest and most famous are Mueang Boran, literally Old Town Den Gamle By near Samut Prakan in Thailand , in Aarhus, the open-air museum Gamle Bergen in Norway and the old town of Hlinsko in the open-air museum Vysočina in the Czech Republic. The museums are located in (Aarhus) or on the outskirts (Bergen, Vysočina) of the respective city. In the Mueang Boran Museum there are 116 monuments, copies but also originals of famous buildings from all parts of Thailand. The Franconian Open Air Museum Bad Windsheim has an old part of the city with buildings preserved in situ. This is not in the actual museum area, but about 500 m from the museum entrance in the city of Bad Windsheim . Historic cities within the framework of an otherwise more rural open-air museum can be found in the Hessenpark open-air museum (town square in front of the museum entrance) and in the Domein Bokrijk (Flanders / Belgium). In the latter case, after a change in the museum management, the construction of the old town was stopped, because from their point of view it did not make sense to rebuild urban buildings on the flat land. At times, the information about this part of the museum was (almost) deleted from the official guides. Also on the current (2006) website of the museum there is little information about the old town . In addition to the folklore open-air museums, some museums with a different specialist focus are called open-air museums . What they have in common is that their collection is not only shown in a single building.

Mining historical open-air museums

Klenshyttan in the Bergslagen Ecomuseum

Mining historical open-air museums consist of accessible open-cast mines , tunnel paths (hiking trails from tunnel to tunnel) and / or mining facilities and mining settlements. Such systems often exist in connection with a visitor mine . The transition to the Ecomuseum is flowing here - e.g. B. the Ekomuseum Bergslagen .

Military historical open-air museums

Military- historical open-air museums - especially those on the history of the mountain war in World War I - can be found in considerable numbers in the Dolomites , the Lienz Dolomites , the Carnic Alps , the Adamello - Presanella group and the Monte Pasubio .

Archaeological open-air museums

Archaeological open-air museums are either excavation sites open to the public or life-size models of prehistoric installations (houses, herds, etc.). In Europe, the spectrum ranges from Paleolithic settlements through Bronze and Iron Age villages such as Celtic villages ( Celtic village Mitterkirchen ) and Roman villas to medieval settlements. Some archaeological open-air museums try to bring the history of the respective period to life ( Gammel Lejre ). The Ukranenland open-air museum brings the early Middle Ages of the Slavs to life. The same applies to a number of museums from Roman times, the Viking Age and the Middle Ages.

Other types of open air museums

The open-air museum Het Verscholen Dorp shows a reconstruction of an area with underground houses near Vierhouten, in which up to 120 people were hidden during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. In Mödlareuth and in Behrungen there are open-air museums with remains of the inner-German border . Open-air museums with mostly modern art are sculpture gardens in which mostly large-format sculptures are displayed. A typical example is the Hakone Open Air Museum (Japan).

Living museums

Video of the press day in the open-air museum Roscheider Hof
Blacksmiths in the Ukranenland open-air
museum , Torgelow

While the first founding of folkloric open-air museums such as the museum village of Cloppenburg in their original conception was aimed at exhibiting magnificent and as originally preserved farmhouses in a park, at the latest since the time after the Second World War , the presentation of the living environment has also been the focus of museum efforts . In one of the last new foundations, the Bergisches Freilichtmuseum Lindlar , the buildings are almost only a means to an end. The main interest is the depiction of agriculture around 1900.

In order to achieve this, animals in many open-air museums, at least during the season, populate the museum, ideally historical domestic breeds of the respective region. In some museums such as B. the open-air museum at Kiekeberg they live in the historical stables. Gardens and fields give an impression of the useful plants of the region shown in the time segment shown. Ideally, an open-air museum also serves as a "gene reservoir" by increasing endangered species of domestic animals and useful plants and, for example, holding plant markets. The limits of this representation are more with the people. These are museum employees who slip out of their costumes in the evening. So you won't find the drunk day laborer any more than the lousy driving dealer.

In addition to the effort to keep an agriculture going in principle, there is also an effort to convey techniques from agriculture and handicrafts to visitors through demonstrations. Some large museums have the ability to offer demonstrations by museum staff almost daily. Smaller museums also organize days of action on various topics such as “Farmer's Day”, “Craftsman's Day”, “Keltertag”, “Cold Blood Festival”, “Tractor Festival” etc. There are limits to such demonstrations, as not all historical techniques are legally acceptable today ( e.g. tanners due to their toxic Chemicals or rafts due to danger to life when drifting in white water).

Recently, open-air museums have increasingly been devoting themselves to younger eras, such as the 1950s and the associated change in the rural way of life. This also has an impact on the collection activity, as objects from this period are also collected. While it used to be customary to restore old farmhouses and their inventory as true to the original as possible, today later changes are preserved and made clear for the visitors.

A number of open-air museums have a railway (tram, field railway, industrial railway, peat railway), which is usually (only) put into operation on special days of travel.

See also


  • Alfred Bedal (ed.): Open-air museum and house research. What weight do the open-air museums have for house and building research? (= Reports of the conference of the working group of regional rural open-air museums in Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with the State Office for Museum Care Baden-Württemberg in Schwäbisch Hall from November 9th to 11th, 2011 / Museum magazine, volume 10). Konrad Theiss, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8062-2728-4 .
  • Alessia Pelillo (ed.): Guide to the archaeological open-air museums in Europe. Translated from the Italian by Maurizio Boni. Pile dwellings Unteruhldingen, Uhldingen-Mühlhofen 2009, DNB 1010806165 .
  • Georg Waldemer: Open-air museums in Bavaria. History - concepts - positions. (= Museum building blocks. Volume 11). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin / Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-422-06645-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Open air museum  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Open air museums  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Small museum guide - Mecklenburg Folklore Museum Schwerin-Muess. Pp. 4-6.
  2. Hegard, Tonte: Romantikk og fortidsvern: historien om de første friluftsmuseer i Norge . Oslo, Universitetsforlaget 1984, pp. 201-212.
  3. accessed on April 13, 2015
  4. For more information, see the Wikipedia article on this museum.
  5. Miklós Cseri, Endre Füzes (ed.): Hungarian Open Air Museum Szentendre. Szabadtéri Néprajzi Múzeum, Szentendre 1997, ISBN 963-7376-34-0 , p. 12.
  6. Small Museum Guide - Mecklenburg Folklore Museum Schwerin-Muess, p. 6.