The Museum in Cloppenburg

June 19, 2009

After a fine lunch in Vechta, we drove to Cloppenburg where there is an open-air museum of typical farm buildings and equipment from the early days. It was uncanny how those farmhouses resembled the one we’re staying in.  While the “old house” belonging to the Runde family is quite large, it is dwarfed by the farmhouse we toured at the museum.  Still, the structure is clearly in the same fashion.

The windmills were impressive. One of them is mounted on a wheel to allow the manager of the mill to turn the entire structure to catch the wind.

The roofs, walls, and fences continue to fascinate me. See the thatch roofs and woven walls, some of which are quite open to the air while others are tight-woven and covered with a kind of “stucco.”

The animals (cows for the wealthy, pigs for those less fortunate) were kept in pens along the sides of the large central room. The big double doors would permit entry for animals and carts and equipment, as well as people.

The fireplace is where the cooking was done.

The Freking families we have  been studying from 1600 to 1850 can be expected to have lived in similar settings. The photo we found of a Freking farmhouse certainly resembles the ones we saw at the museum. We found that the Frekings were hired workers or merchants for many years, but then managed to purchase a farmhouse. We have more to learn about their living conditions, but now we can imagine it from what we’ve seen.

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