Information on current and past research projects at the Open-Air Museum Ballenberg.
How did people use to live in the countryside? Which people made up a household? What did they live off? Why did people decide to build a new house or to convert one? Who had the right and the means to do this?
The Swiss Open-Air Museum and other research institutions have long been interested in these and other questions, even as the landscape and agriculture have been changing rapidly and many old farmhouses have already been demolished. However, these questions have not yet all been answered.
The ‘People and Homes’ research project takes a new perspective and uses the latest research methods to explore the reality of life for earlier generations in the countryside. The focus is on the stories of selected houses in the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum and their inhabitants. The project examines interconnections related to construction, changes in economic practices and housing conditions, and other changes. Key topics of interest are the interdependencies and external influences – such as climate change, disease and wars – that triggered economic, social and cultural upheavals. The houses, the people, the material culture and nature itself are recognised as actors with their own ability to affect their surroundings, and their interactions are examined.
The project team combines approaches from architectural history, social and economic history, and cultural anthropology, and works closely with genealogists, architectural archaeologists, economic and social history researchers and local historical associations, and is also involving a wider range of people within the framework of citizen science. The data collected will be made publicly available in a database.
Living, building and doing business in rural Switzerland
Financing: SNSF (project number 189398)
Duration: 01/06/2020 – 31/05/2024
Swiss Open-Air Museum
CH-3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz
6 April to 29 October 2023
10 am to 5 pm daily