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Franconian OpenAir Museum

Museum under the open sky

A walk around the Fränkisches Freilandmuseum is like travelling back in time through the past 700 years of rural life in Franconia. More than one hundred buildings, most of them furnished with authentic furniture from their period – farmsteads, craftsmen’s cottages, shepherd’s huts, barns, stables, bakeries, drying houses for fruit and flax, a school, a municipal building and a manor house – make for an amazing journey of discovery, showing how Franconian people lived, worked and built their homes in times gone by.

Walk from village to village
The buildings are arranged in six groups, representing different regions and themes. So, walking around the museum site feels a bit like walking from village to village, as people would have done in the past. Of particular interest are the “Middle Ages” group and the “Town” group, located in Bad Windsheim’s old town, with the Spitalkirche (hospital church), the “Museum Kirche in Franken” – a permanent exhibition about the history of the Church in Franconia – the old Bauhof (timber yard) and the “Kräuter-Apotheke” with its exhibition of medicinal herbs.

Authentic crops and livestock
Gardens, fields and meadows, hedgerows, vineyards and hop plantations, streams and creeks within the museum site recreate the traditional cultural landscape of Franconia. In fields and orchards, old varieties of fruits, vegetables and grains are cultivated that used to be grown in the region but are now rare and partly forgotten. Arable weeds and wildflowers traditionally associated with farms and cottages in the area are also encouraged and have been reintroduced as part of a biodiversity project. Some of the fields are cultivated with horse- or ox-drawn equipment. Meadows and grasslands are grazed by the museum’s own sheep, and old livestock breeds, such as Swabian-Hall swine, Ansbach-Triesdorfer cattle, Franconian geese and many others, bring the working farmstead to life.

Special exhibitions, festivals and traditional crafts
Whether first-time or regular visitor, the museum offers new attractions all the time. Special exhibitions, concerts, talks, theatre, festivals and crafts demonstrations guarantee a varied and constantly changing programme of activities. The historic fun fair in early May, the children’s festival, “Night at the Museum” and a folk music day in June, open air theatre in July and August, a summer fête and a harvest festival in autumn, not forgetting the mediaeval festival at the beginning of October – there’s always plenty going on to offer visitors of all ages fun, entertainment and education.
The museum also has a comprehensive and engaging education programme with guided tours on general or more specific topics, events and hands-on activities for all age groups and school types. These can be booked online and are also available in a choice of different languages.

Games and books
Our new Experience Area offers special activities and things to explore for children and young people, while four historic inns throughout the site serve refreshments and Franconian specialities in an authentic setting. At the museum shop, visitors can browse for gifts and souvenirs or purchase some of the museum’s own publications, providing a deeper insight into the detailed history and construction methods of the museum buildings.