The open–air museum is different from traditional “stone” museums. Its purpose is to bring its visitors closer not only to the old structures and furniture with which the life of people in the countryside was connected, but aims to show also the exterior settings of the settlements and their environment – the fields, meadows and pastures which were connected with making their living.
The first projects for the foundation of an Orava Village Museum date back to the 1960s, when the construction of new houses from solid materials was just underway. As its result, the look of the villages which had prevailed for many centuries was changing, and folk architecture disappearing. When it became obvious that the preservation of the folk architecture heritage in its original settings was unrealistic, the concept of an open-air museum started to develop. On September 29th, 1967 its foundation stone was laid.
The constructions in the museum are mostly originals brought in from different locations in Orava. They were bought from their original owners, dismantled, transported and conserved, and reassembled in the museum. Replicas were made of those constructions which could not be bought or transported.
The museum is divided into five parts:
Lower Orava Market place – showing a little market town with buildings form the south-western part of the region
Upper Orava Street – show-piece of a village with row houses and homesteads from the period of the Wallach colonization
Goral hamlets showing scattered homesteads in a mountain environment
Mill House with water technology facilities – the mill and the fulling mill
The mountain stream Studená, with a reconstructed mill pond for a mill and a fulling mill, runs through the museum site.
The museum is opened all year round.