Latvia does not have any mountains, but yet is covered by forests for about 60% of land. In Gauja National Park, people can operate their own land and run the business in relation to nature. The Archaeological Museum where the buried houses of 9th -10th Century were revealed represents the life of then, including tools, weapons and daily objects, up to medieval time. While in Latvia, one thing you cannot miss out is that refresh your energy in a traditional Latvian Bath house which usually lies on the imaginary ley line full of spiritual power. Having a land mostly covered with forest urges people to learn to respect the nature, and the Educational programme is committing to this very concept and brings it to the global level.
The biggest open-air museum in Latvia, Ethnographic Open-air Museum serves various purposes for tourists and citizens in Riga. The way in which they manage this open-air museum is so unique that certain houses are open to traditional craftsmen for the purpose of demonstrating their skills and selling their work. The benefit of doing so is that craftsmen’s real time demonstration attracts people and on the other hand, people get to learn the traditional woodcrafts and the museum achieve the aim of, apart from preserving historical buildings, educating people and preserving the tradition of olden day. Dr. M?rti?š KUPLAIS, a professional historian working in this museum, guided us around and told the stories of traditional Latvia life.
A private museum, located in a small village STUDZIWODY adjacent to the border between Poland and Belarus, is run by a Russian-origin Polish man, DOROTESZ FIONIK, who is enthusiastic about reviving the local tradition of his clan and soon expanding to the Belarusian culture revival. Half of his own wooden house has been turned into a museum displaying tools and appliances of the old days. He has then bought another wooden city house and placed it just across the dirt road as his second collection for the museum. He strives to keep and revive Belarusian rituals, traditions and language by holding Belarusian festivals with people who are passionate about their own culture.
Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok is a young open-air museum aiming at bringing the ethnographic knowledge of different period of time in history to the public, especially school kids. The most particular wooden house of all is the Jews house of 100 years old which was the first house moved into this museum. Being the only open-air museum in the most southerly point of Poland, Folk Architecture Museum has gained in popularity among all levels of schools and all age groups. All the wooden houses are relatively new as most of the houses were destroyed during World War II.
Right at the border between Poland and Slovakia, only 17km northwest to the most popular ski resort Zakopane, Chochołów had an interesting history of ‘making independent’. The uprising in 1846 fighting against the rule of Austria-Hungary made Chocho?ów known, and this part of historical fact is kept in the small museum and a craftsman’s private museum in this village. We were lucky to meet the owner Mr. Jan Zi?der, a self-taught carpenter running a wood workshop and a private museum collecting daily objects of the old days and documents/photos/letters from the war time in the village. Every year before Easter women will scrub and wash the outer walls of their cottages to make them look nice after winter. It’s interestingly only women’s job.
Arriving in the Liptov Village Museum, we were welcomed by a lively performance telling a story of highway man in Slovakia. Over 80% of the whole country is covered by mountains and therefore the country tale of highway man has been always a notable story to be told. The director of Liptov Village Museum, Dr Iveta Zusinova, a local grown anthropologist, commenced this museum for the sake of keeping important parts of 22 villages at which the area was wiped out to build up a dam. This museum holds various events in order to form an image of the country life in the olden days for tourists.
Spreading over the meadows at the bottom of the Western Tatras, Orava Village signals a good location for an open-air museum. Orava village museum is aiming to represent the exterior settings of settlements and the living environment of these villages of the 12th to 13th Century, and brings the visitors closer to the wooden structure and furniture with which the life of village people are connected. Scattering as a real village setting in Orava, the Latin school, the market, cattle place, fire alarm bell and the surrounding settings of the whole village compose the image of a mountainous village of the old time and offer the pleasant atmosphere for visitors to experience the country life.
The Viking ship museum is located at the Roskilde, Denmark. The museum focuses on the preservation, reconstruction and investigation of various Scandinavian boats and ships in the prehistoric and medieval times, but distinguishes itself from others for its hands-on activities.
Visitors not only learn traditional shipbuilding techniques, such as wooden nail making and rope making, but also come on board to experience the real Viking ship cruise!
The museum has many shipbuilders in charge of the ship reconstructions on which they apply the techniques from the old time. Shipbuilders reconstruct ships in the open-air exhibition area, so the public can take a close look at their works.
The SIIDA (the Sami cultural and natural museum in Inari) was opened in 1962. It provides visitors knowledge and information of Sami culture and Arctic Nature in the northernmost region of Finland.
In the exhibition hall of the SIIDA, numerous Sami wooden crafts, such as baby cradle, dishes, drinking cups, butter box, and jewelry box, etc., are well preserved and displayed. Also, there is a photo exhibition of the Sami history that tells stories of their life for generations.
In order to make a living, the indigenous Sami people have some customs, such as domesticated reindeers herding and fish catching in the river. Traditionally, the Sami lived a way of life based on seasonal movement from their winter sod dwellings or log cabins to spring, summer and autumn camps. These Sami sod huts, log cabins, and wooden boats for moving along rivers, from the 18th to 19th century, have also been collected and exhibited at the open-air area of the SIIDA .
Not only does Vasa War Ship Museum in Stockholm, Sweden preserve a magnificent warship of the 17th century- Vasa, but thousands of wooden objects that were salvaged from the wreck along with the ship reveal the detail of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques, aesthetic sense and the way of life at that time.
On January 16, 1628, Vasa sank on her maiden voyage after departing from Stockholm and sailing for just 1,500 meters. Vasa was decorated with sculptures carved in oak, pine or lime, and each of these sculptures has its underlying significance. For example, the sculptures of Roman emperors, which stand along the sides of the beak head, represent the glory and the power of Swedish King Gustav II Adolf (King Gustavus Adolphus); moreover, a male figure in a crouching position under the cathead signify that Polish men was inferior to Swedish men, because Poland and Sweden were at war in the 1620s, and more.
For over 300 years, Vasa had been lying at the depth of 32 meters in polluted water, where various bacteria and fungi had attacked the wood, and the rusted bolts of the hull had diffused into the wood and water. Today, researchers, conservators and technicians are still endeavoring in preserving the ship for the future.