The Ballenberg Open-Air Museum is not only situated in the centre of Switzerland but it is also in the middle of a forest. And this forest is more than mere decor. About half of the area of the open-air museum is forest land.
People’s relationship with the forest was once literally one for life. Without the forest there would have been no heating, no furniture, no receptacles, no houses, no fences and no vehicles. From the cradle to the grave, the forest was the source of raw materials, and it also protected people from avalanches and rock falls. Conversely, exploitation of this resource and the replanting of trees shaped the forest and the cultivated landscape in general.
Plastic and metal products are everywhere these days. But, how did our ancestors cope without these materials? The answer comes from the forest, which offers a solution for almost all aspects of daily life. The themed trail (forest trail) takes us to a range of different trees and shrubs and shows their vital importance for traditional handicrafts and customs.
The woodland playground aims to focus attention even more on the topics of forests and wood: without forests and wood, there would be no Ballenberg. More than 100 buildings were dismantled in one place and rebuilt in the Open-Air Museum. Support beam by support beam. Without skilled craftsmanship and a feel for wood, this would be almost impossible to achieve. Without forests, most of the houses in Ballenberg and the furniture and tools exhibited there simply would not exist. The individual play stations of the new woodland playground are therefore entirely devoted to the forest or to the raw material wood. In an initial phase, a converted ‘Schürli’ barn, a large sandpit and woodland shelters were be opened to the public. Construction will continue until 2024, when the nature playground offering rich play experiences for children of all ages is set to be completed.
Just like agriculture, the forest and the timber industry are part of everyday rural life. It is the aim of the Association for the Promotion of the Ballenberg Forestry Museum(FFMB) to present this idea in a visually attractive form.