Open-air museum

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Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village, Takayama, Gifu, Japan JP-Takayama-hida-no-sato-2.jpg
Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village, Takayama, Gifu, Japan
An aerial photograph of the open-air museum at Stara Lubovna, Slovakia Stara Lubovna 8.jpg
An aerial photograph of the open-air museum at Stará Ľubovňa, Slovakia

An open-air museum (or open air museum) is a museum that exhibits collections of buildings and artifacts out-of-doors. It is also frequently known as a museum of buildings or a folk museum.

Contents

Definition

Open air is “the unconfined atmosphere…outside buildings...” [1] In the loosest sense, an open-air museum is any institution that includes one or more buildings in its collections, including farm museums, historic house museums, and archaeological open-air museums. Mostly, 'open-air museum is applied to a museum that specializes in the collection and re-erection of multiple old buildings at large outdoor sites, usually in settings of recreated landscapes of the past, and often include living history. They may, therefore, be described as building museums. European open-air museums tended to be sited originally in regions where wooden architecture prevailed, as wooden structures may be translocated without substantial loss of authenticity.

Common to all open-air museums, including the earliest ones of the 19th century, is the teaching of the history of everyday living by people from all segments of society.

Origins

The World's first open-air museum, King Oscar's Collection in Oslo. Wood engraving from the guide-book, 1888. Now part of Norsk Folkemuseum Kong Oscars samling.jpg
The World's first open-air museum, King Oscar's Collection in Oslo. Wood engraving from the guide-book, 1888. Now part of Norsk Folkemuseum
A view of Skansen, the first major open-air museum, around 1900 Skansen, Stockholm, Sweden WDL2622.png
A view of Skansen, the first major open-air museum, around 1900

The idea of the open-air museum dates to the 1790s. The first proponent of the idea was the Swiss thinker Charles de Bonstetten, and was based on a visit to an exhibit of sculptures of Norwegian peasants in native costumes in the park of Fredensborg Palace in Denmark,"Valley of the Norsemen". [2] He believed that traditional peasant houses should be preserved against modernity, but failed to attract support for the idea. [2]

The first major steps towards the creation of open-air museums was taken in Norway in 1881, when King Oscar II transferred four historic farm buildings and the stave church from Gol to the royal manor at Bygdøy near Oslo (Christiania) for public viewing. [3] This, in turn, in 1884 and 1885 inspired Artur Hazelius, founder of the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, to establish his own open-air museum Skansen, adjacent to the Nordic Museum. Skansen, opened to the public in 1891, was a more ambitious undertaking, including farm buildings from across Sweden, folk costumes, live animals, folk music, and demonstrations of folk crafts. [4] The success of the Nordic Museum and Skansen ensured that the open-air museum idea spread to countries across the world. Already in 1894 the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum) was founded in Oslo by Hans Aall, inspired by Skansen. Aall bought a large tract of land adjacent to King Oscar's royal collections, probably with a merger between them in mind. The open-air Norsk Folkemuseum was opened at Bygdøy in 1902. In 1907 the royal collections were incorporated after the death of King Oscar and the dissolution of the union with Sweden. [5]

Most open-air museums concentrate on rural culture. However, since the opening of the first town museum, The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1914, [6] town culture has also become a scope of open-air museums. In many cases, new town quarters are being constructed in existing rural culture museums.

Living-history museums

Living-history museums, including living-farm museums and living museums, are open-air museums where costumed interpreters portray period life in an earlier era. The interpreters act as if they are living in a different time and place and perform everyday household tasks, crafts, and occupations. The goal is to demonstrate older lifestyles and pursuits to modern audiences. Household tasks might include cooking on an open hearth, churning butter, spinning wool and weaving, and farming without modern equipment. Many living museums feature traditional craftsmen at work, such as a blacksmith, pewtersmith, silversmith, weaver, tanner, armorer, cooper, potter, miller, sawyer, cabinet-maker, woodcarver, printer, doctor, and general storekeeper.

North American innovations

A view of the Farmers' Market in Merchant's Square in Colonial Williamsburg with map in foreground Williamsburg Farmers' Market 2.jpg
A view of the Farmers' Market in Merchant's Square in Colonial Williamsburg with map in foreground

The North American open-air museum, more commonly called a living-history museum, had a different, slightly later origin than the European, and the visitor experience is different. The first was Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan (1928), where Ford intended his collection to be “a pocket edition of America”. [7] :153 Colonial Williamsburg (opened in 1934), though, had a greater influence on museum development in North America. It influenced such projects through the continent as Mystic Seaport, Plimoth Plantation, and Fortress Louisbourg. The approach to interpretation tends to differentiate the North American from the European model. In Europe, the tendency is to usually focus on the buildings.

In North America, many open-air museums include interpreters who dress in period costume and conduct period crafts and everyday work. [7] :154 The living museum is, therefore, viewed as an attempt to recreate to the fullest extent conditions of a culture, natural environment, or historical period. The objective is immersion, using exhibits so that visitors can experience the specific culture, environment or historical period using the physical senses.

Performance and historiographic practices at American living museums have been critiqued in the past several years by scholars in anthropology and theater for creating false senses of authenticity and accuracy, and for neglecting to bear witness to some of the darker aspects of the American past (e.g., slavery and other forms of injustice). Even before such critiques were published, sites such as Williamsburg and others had begun to add more interpretation of difficult history. [8]

List of open-air and living museums by country

See also

Related Research Articles

As of 2019, Norway ranks 22nd in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Tourism in Norway contributed to 4.2% of the gross domestic product as reported in 2018. Every seven in a hundred people throughout the country work in the tourism industry. Tourism is seasonal in Norway, with more than half of total tourists visiting between the months of May and August.

Bygdøy or Bygdø is a peninsula situated on the western side of Oslo, Norway. Administratively, Bygdøy belongs to the borough of Frogner; historically Bygdøy was part of Aker Municipality and became part of Oslo in 1948.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frogner</span> Borough in Oslo, Norway

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bunad</span> National costume of Norway

Bunad is a Norwegian umbrella term encompassing, in its broadest sense, a range of both traditional rural clothes as well as modern 20th-century folk costumes. In its narrow sense the word bunad refers only to clothes designed in the early 20th century that are loosely based on traditional costumes. The word bunad in itself is a 20th-century invention.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norwegian romantic nationalism</span> Movement in Norway between 1840 and 1867

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Artur Hazelius</span> Swedish folkorist and museum founder

Artur Immanuel Hazelius was a Swedish teacher, scholar, folklorist and museum director. He was the founder of both the Nordic Museum and the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norwegian Museum of Cultural History</span> Museum in Oslo, Norway

Norsk Folkemuseum, at Bygdøy, Oslo, Norway, is a museum of cultural history with extensive collections of artifacts from all social groups and all regions of the country. It also incorporates a large open-air museum with more than 150 buildings, relocated from towns and rural districts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gol Stave Church</span> Church in Oslo, Norway

Gol Stave Church is a stave church originally from Gol in the traditional region of Hallingdal in Buskerud county, Norway. The reconstructed church is now a museum and is now located in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy in Oslo, Norway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hallingdal Museum</span>

Hallingdal Museum Nesbyen is an open-air museum at Nesbyen within Nes in Viken county, Norway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Architecture of Norway</span> Buildings of Norway

The architecture of Norway has evolved in response to changing economic conditions, technological advances, demographic fluctuations and cultural shifts. While outside architectural influences are apparent in much of Norwegian architecture, they have often been adapted to meet Norwegian climatic conditions, including: harsh winters, high winds and, in coastal areas, salt spray.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adolph Tidemand</span> Norwegian painter

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Telemark Museum</span> Cultural history museum in Øvregate , Skien

The Telemark Museum is a museum in Telemark, Norway. It includes several buildings across Telemark and is headquartered in Kleiva in the older part of Skien in Vestfold og Telemark county, Norway. The main museum building is located within walking distance of downtown Skien. Telemark Museum includes the Henrik Ibsen Museum in Skien.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Folk museum</span>

A folk museum is a museum that deals with folk culture and heritage. Such museums cover local life in rural communities. A folk museum typically displays historical objects that were used as part of the people's everyday lives. Examples of such objects include clothes and tools. Many folk museums are also open-air museums and some cover rural history.

Anders Reidar Kjellberg was a Norwegian art historian and museum director.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Apoteket Hjorten</span> Cultural asset in Norway

Apoteket Hjorten was a pharmacy located at Grønland in Oslo, Norway. The name "Apoteket Hjorten" is used for a number of pharmacies in several Norwegian cities such as Fredrikstad and Trondheim. The pharmacy is now renamed to Vitusapotek Hjorten, and the modern building is located in Smalgangen 5.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Medieval Scandinavian architecture</span>

The major aspects of Medieval Scandinavian architecture are boathouses, religious buildings, and general buildings.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norwegian Pharmacy Museum</span>

The Norwegian Pharmacy Museum is located on Bygdøy in Oslo, Norway. It is operated in cooperation with the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.

References

  1. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
  2. 1 2 Hurt 1978, p. 368.
  3. Hegard, Tonte: Romantikk og fortidsvern. Historien om de første friluftsmuseer i Norge. Oslo, Universitetsforlaget 1984. ISBN   8200070840, pp. 32–61 and 191–212
  4. Hurt 1978, pp. 368–369.
  5. Hegard, Tonte: Hans Aall – mannen, visjonen og verket. Oslo, Norsk Folkemuseum 1994. ISBN   8276310230, pp. 41–66
  6. "The Old Town. Denmark's National Open Air Museum of Urban History and Culture". Archived from the original on 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  7. 1 2 Kenneth Hudson, Museums of Influence, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  8. Scott Magelssen, Living History Museums: Undoing History Through Performance, Scarecrow Press, 2007

Bibliography

Museum websites