The farmhouse from Madiswil is an all wood post and beam construction. In contrast to the neighbouring thatched-roof house from Oberentfelden AG (No. 221), this farmhouse from the beginning of the 18th century was planned and built for two families.
Its ground plan is divided along the roof ridge into two living and working sections, with shared use of the kitchen, threshing floor and loft. This house was originally covered with straw, which was replaced with shingles in the 19th century. On its reconstruction, some 257’000 shingles were required for this huge roof.
The living quarters of this house have been largely preserved and could be rebuilt in the Museum with only minor changes. The work areas, which had naturally suffered greater wear and tear, were partially reconstructed from new timber. The supporting high posts reaching up to the roof ridge can be seen in the middle of the house. Ladder posts make it easier to climb up to the hay and straw lofts. Pairs of rafters which support the roof battens and the roof covering are hung over the ridge beam. The roof construction is reinforced by a secondary ridge beam below the main beam with transversely braced inner rafters.
The Madiswil house gives us an idea of how the average Midlands farmer lived and worked in the 18th century. Its interior contains many pieces of furniture and objects from this tradition-rich Upper Aargau village which lies in the Canton of Berne.
The middle of this house is occupied by an impressive smokehouse kitchen. Without a chimney, the smoke rises freely up beneath the wooden ceiling of the upper floor and passes through smoke-holes into the threshing floor and to the outside. Sausages and sides of bacon hang from the ceiling to cure in the smoke. Little daylight penetrates into this room. All except those who had work to do in the kitchen no doubt preferred to stay in the smoke-free parlour which could be heated by a sandstone stove.
Both parlours are furnished with peasant furniture from Upper Aargau. A loom in one of the side rooms is a reminder of the introduction of linen weaving to this region. Already in the early 17th century, weaving was established as wage work providing a secondary income. As a reminder of the legend of the left-handed reaper, a left-handed scythe hangs on the wall to the threshing floor. This tragic story of a proof of love which had to be given by «reaping with the left hand» has been performed in the Madiswil folk theatre at regular intervals since 1914.
Where there was no stream and no spring to be tapped, it was necessary to dig for water. Wells often reached down as far as twelve metres to the ground water level. We have dug a well behind the house from Madiswil. The water can be brought to the surface by means of a wooden pump. Above the well-shaft, the ground-water well from Wimmis BE (No. 323) has been rebuilt.