The idea of showing rural building and life style in Europe came up about 100 years ago. Resulting from the desire to preserve remains and memorials of the everyday and work culture and to explore the conditions of rural life in the past, the first open-air museums came up in Scandinavia. Thus, already at the end of the 19th century – more than 100 years ago – the evidences of rural life style were recognised as an important part of our culture.
In a time of permanently changing living conditions and work situations it is the Cultural Department of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) that resumes responsibility for the museums. 1960 was the year of foundation and in 1971 the Open-Air Museum in Detmold opened for the first time.
However, unlike arts, monuments or musical tradition of the past, it is difficult to reveal our ancestors’ laborious life full of privation, just showing the evidence of their everyday cultural heritage. And, above all, household assets, furniture and devices are antiques sought after for romanticising modern dwellings. Old farmhouses and cottages that are used as weekend homes probably hardly shed light on real living conditions of long ago.
This is completely different in our Open-Air Museum.