People’s everyday life, lifestyles and houses are not complete without animals and the surrounding landscape.
Cultivated landscapes, livestock breeding and farming are subject to historical change and therefore have their very own history – an understanding that has become popular again since the 1980s.
From 1985, the LWL Open-Air Museum in Detmold has had its own Landscape Ecology Department and the results of its work are visible all over the museum site.
The museum illustrates interdependencies and interactions between mankind and landscape. The location and the structure of a farmstead, surrounding land and the economic focus already played a role in the very first thoughts of the museum’s founders: There is deliberately left ample space between the individual farmsteads, hamlets and villages in order to present the cultivated landscape.
Even regional geographical distinctions were considered when re-erecting the historical buildings: The moated farm from the Münsterland is located in rather flat, gently inclined terrain, whereas the Sauerland village, for instance, extends over a valley.
Field groves and hedgerows, crop land and woodland areas demonstrate their regional particularities. The cultivation of specific crops, the reproduction of ancient species as well as the application of historical manuring and cultivation techniques form part of the daily work of the Landscape Ecology Department. New ground was broken with the research of peasant gardens. Differences can be stated even within Westphalia as to the respective region, time period and social class, differences particularly concerning the choice of plants, pavement of garden ways, fencing and garden size. All these historical facts had, and still have, their influence on the layout of our museum gardens.
A further focus of research is on old and endangered breeds of Westphalian farm animals as well as on their conservation. The animals are allocated to the respective farmsteads and villages where they form part of the internal daily routine.