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Testimonies of past living environments

Historical houses never arrive unchanged in an open-air museum - therefore, after their dismantling and reconstruction, they are always also testimonies of the museum’s history. The change in scientific research approaches and the presentation forms developed from them can be read from them.

The construction of the first buildings in the museum began in 1966. In view of the dwindling historical building culture in the countryside, culturally significant buildings had already been dismantled and stored since the 1950s to save them from demolition. By 1966, almost 70 buildings had been dismantled and stacked on the museum grounds. Some of these stacks can still be seen today. Often work was done without a crane and only by hand with ropes, pulleys, and lifting trees.

The first years were characterized by scarce financial resources and few employees. There was improvisation. Thus, the forecourt of the Crooked House served as a timber yard for restoration and reconstruction. The selected buildings were to be as typical as possible, and the museum management determined their depicted condition. The farm groups were arranged according to ideal plans and integrated into the existing cultural landscape. The first of these groups was the Osnabrück Hof.

One house - one construction kit

Construction has been ongoing in the museum since 1966. Especially at the beginning, speed was crucial. The aim was to hastily collect the houses from their original locations to save them from demolition. Research and documentation could not be carried out with today’s thoroughness.

Also, the methods have changed over time. In addition, there was a lack of financial resources and personnel resources were limited.

The houses were measured before dismantling and recorded in the form of dimension sketches. Museum staff then drew these in ink.

In light copies of the plans, the numbers of the individual components were then entered. Photo documentation was initially rare and if so, mostly of the already gutted building. Since it was already established during the dismantling which era the building should represent on the museum grounds, only historically relevant findings for this time were usually recorded.

In the 1970s, the deficiencies of the previous documentation came to light and countermeasures were taken. The experts carried out restorative investigations of the stored components. Many of these are visible as “color stairs” in the restored houses. Today, based on long-term planning, it is decided which houses should come to the museum. Before each translocation - whole or in parts - the historical substance with all existing traces is documented at the original location.