Thursday, July 23, 2009

Frontier Culture Museum

Even on a rainy, dreary day, the Frontier Culture Museum is a fabulous place to visit.

What a cool concept for a museum: on several acres, you walk along an undulating path from one century to the next, from one country to the next, each building authentic and filled with some original pieces, but mostly fantastic reproductions.

The farmhouses were brought here from each of the countries that represent the immigrants who settled in this section of western Virginia—England, Germany, and Ireland. Another village is currently under construction which represents the 4th group—the Igbo tribe from West Africa.

Within each of the houses are knowledgeable interpreters who tell you about the people who might have lived in the home, their customs, what they were experiencing in their native country that
prompted them to move to America, how they survived and made a living, and the ways in which they influenced their new neighbors.

On every day but Monday, the interpreters are dressed in period costumes. And throughout the year, the museum hosts special events.

We spent 4 hours on our self-guided tour, and because of the rain, we had the entire place to ourselves. That is, the two of us, and all the farm animals.


Unknown said...

Wonderful pictures. Very interesting look at the furniture from the different cultures. Obvious pride in their work even for the most utilitarian of pieces. I recognized the flax breaker under the chicken. When I first started making furniture I found about 20 of those breakers in CT and made tables with them. Very sturdy. Thanks again for the post


Ethan said...

That table in the bottom-right corner of the German Farm grouping looks so familiar...

Now where have I seen that before?

Shazza said...

Looks like a fun place! Thanks for sharing!

The Village Idiot said...

Why is there a picture of your cemetary(garden) in there?

Alfred Kraemer said...

Thanks for featuring the Frontier Village. Places like that are often overlooked by visitors to the region and tourist brochure don't often highlight them.
Old World Wisconsin is a place that I have on my list to visit this summer.
For examples of German timberframe buildings I know of no better place than an open air museum in Cloppenburg (Germany/Lower Saxony). I wish their website would include more interior pictures - the furnishings, etc. match the period. web site:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to show all of's fascinating to see the progression through time.

Kari Hultman said...

Chod, I always find it interesting, like you said, that even modest pieces had some adornment.

Ethan, I was thrilled that they had a little sawbuck. :o)

Shazza, we're planning to go back again in the fall for other events.

Scott, why, I oughta....

Alfred, I had never heard of the museum until a reader wrote me about it. I always appreciate it when people give me suggestions, so thank you for the links!

Greg, glad you liked it. :o)

naomi said...

Cool! You always have geekgasm-inducing posts! Hey--that looks like your sawbuck in the German farm, no?

Kari Hultman said...

Naomi, you crack me up. ; )

The sawbuck is very similar to the one I'm reproducing, except that the drawer is not as fancy. The person who made the reproduction in the photo followed everything precisely, down to the way in which the drawer bottom is attached. In typical PA German furniture, the drawers were tacked onto the bottom with wood pegs or nails. The maker of this piece used wood pegs. I'm not making mine authentically, though. Instead, I'm sliding the drawer bottom into grooves. I just couldn't bear to see the bottom split over time.

Woodbloke said...

Kari - looks like you had an interesting day out and you also seem to have imported some of our English summer weather...constant rain! The buildings in the pics look similar to those that can be seen at the Weald and Downland Museum in Sussex - Rob