Wandering through the Open-Air Museum Site
The Open-Air South Tyrol Museum of Folk Traditions is without any doubt a very special place worth visiting. The farm gardens provide a variety of native vegetables and medical plants. Farmyard and grazing animals can be seen in the meadows. Old farmhouses lead visitors back to past centuries and recreate various aspects of everyday life in former rural society.
Farmhouse from Wipptal (Rainhof in Ridnaun)
This farmhouse was dismantled in 2002 in Ridnaun (Wipptal) and rebuilt to its original form in this museum. Quite impressive is the roof structure, which is well integrated into the decorated front side. The "Stube", the kitchen and the bedrooms are down-valley-oriented, the stables towards the mountain.
Dwelling House (Höfila, Mühlwald)
A large family used to live in this house until 1979. Later the building was dismantled and rebuilt in this museum in 1980. The dwelling house, which is a timber frame structure with a flat shingle roof and bell rider, originally stood in Mühlwald (Ahrntal).
This dormitory hut (Passeier) originates from the 16th century. Due to the considerable number of people living in each house, some of the young farmers had to sleep in the nearby hut called "Schlafkasten".
(Unterpurstoanhof, Sand in Taufers)
Until 1983 this barn was situated in the Unterpustoan farm in Sand in Taufers (Ahrntal). Once it was usual to build this kind of constructions with a timber-frame structure on three floors.
The "Hüttner" (Tennign)
Apart from farmers there were a significant number of peasants in the country, the smallholders or "Hüttner". Their modest agriculture did not suffice to support a large family and made supplementary income necessary. Attached to the side of the small living quarters and joined under one roof, are stable and barn.
Thatched-roof barn (Spatauf, Sarntal)
Tis thatched steep-roof barn of the early 19th century is one of the few representatives of thatched buildings. Once they were found wherever there were adequate grain cultures to obtain the cheap raw material (rye straw), which was used to make the roof weather-proof.
Rural workshops and ancient handicraft
The " Brechelhütte" (Flax breaking-hut)
Away from the farm buildings stood the breaking-holes or -huts, where in late autumn flax was roasted and made pliable in neighbourly co-operation. Linen was an important basic material for rural clothing.
In the Alpine region the existence of water-wheels can be traced back over nine centuries; the oldest form being the shaft-mill. Quite a few of the farmers had their own mill to produce the necessary flour several times a year.
The poster barn (Hilge) belongs to the storage buildings and serves to dry and ripen agricultural produce. For this purpose it is built on stilts; the notched posts prevent the intrusion of pests.
A particular treasure of the museum is this granary "Kornkasten". Above the door the builder has carved "1497". This building, to our knowledge, is therefore the oldest dated wooden building in the eastern Alps.
In valleys with predominantly wooden buildings, ovens are usually found outside the houses. Twice or three times a year large quantities of rye bread were baked here and dried afterwards in special frames.