Welcome to the "Village Museum"
Mönchhof is situated in the so-called "Seewinkel", a great plain
stretching from the most eastern part of Austria into Hungary. In former times
the area around the village Mönchhof was called “Heideboden", meaning a
kind of heathland, a rather dry and poor place to make a living of. However, the
many farmers, craftsmen and peasants still tried. This heath-land was much more
a strict father than “mother earth", feeding its people or starving them,
ruling over them, ordering them to work or to rest. These conditions changed
gravely during the 2nd half of the 20th century. Modernization took over the
country and with it over the “Heideboden” as well. Where dust had been,
concrete and asphalt now lay. With this also the old agricultural world changed,
growing more independent from the soil in some places, vanishing altogether in
ofthers. “A thing that could not be stopped”, as people said.
Here, in the village museum in Mönchhof, the past times can still be sensed.
They are perceptible in the old houses with their furniture and items of daily
use as much as in the craftsmen's shops with their tools and products. The
village museum transmits the spirit of the people having lived in the “Heideboden“,
and it tells us about their joys and griefs, their comfort and security as well
as about the restrictions and forces within the village society.
The open-air-museum (having emerged from a private collection to its actual size
within the last 10 years) is divided into three parts: The first one deals with
the sources of existence, meaning the people's provision with food. What did
they plant? How did they plant and harvest? What did they keep for themselves?
What were their essentials for surviving? According to this the 2nd part of the
museum is dedicated to the preservation of food for personal need and use,
drying, home-curing, smoking or stewing being the guarantee for surviving rough
Hidden behind a small pond there is the largest and maybe most fascinating part
of the museum. There we find a real (or rather a model, yet typical) village in
the former vineyard of the museum's builders and owners, the family Christine
and Josef Haubenwallner. A school, the local inn and grocery, the cinema, the
municipal and postal office, the house of the fire brigade and the workshops of
the local craftsmen as well as the humble home of the shepherd surround the
village green. Contrasting the latter a huge farm building, complete with
stables, wine-cellar, coach-house and workrooms is located at the far end of the
yard. Opposite these buildings we can see the baker's living-rooms and bakery as
well as the small shop where his wife sold the newly-made goods. These two
building units - the farmer's and the baker's house - are connected with each
other through a huge gate at the one end and a barn at the other. Together they
also share the yard in between the long-stretched houses making them a so-called
“Halbwirtschaft”, a most typical way of living and working in the “Heideboden”.
Farther still, at the very end of the village museum, we can see the latest and
most valuable attraction: the church, placed on a small hill and overlooking the
whole little village.
Apart from wandering about all these buildings the visitor can enter every
single one, houses, workshops and stables. He can stay there, taking in
everything and losing himself in gazing at details, strolling about for hours in
this slow and friendly museum. Most friendly and cosy of course, is the local
inn. Like most of the other buildings, it was once situated in Mönchhof, then
taken down and re-erected in the museum with all its furniture and decoration.
Here, the visitor can take a rest, think, ask for further details - or simply
enjoy a nice glass of wine, originating from the cellar of Andreas Weiss,
Haubenwallners son-in-law. The local special bakery - like “Grammelpogatschen”
or “Wasserkipferl” - done by the neighbours ever again, go nicely with the
drink. Sometimes the little inn is almost bursting with visitors, at other times
it is all empty and silent. Too silent for the guest's taste? Then switch on the
old music-box and listen to the great german hits of the 1950's. Or come and
visit the museum when there is a real band playing folk-music, when the
craftsmen show their skills in the old workshop or when an exhibition in the
newly-built hall is ceremoniously opened.
Leaving the “Dorfmuseum Mönchhof” - passing the pond and the “Sammlung”
(collection), the former heart of it all, the last highlight should not be
missed. At the entrance the visitor finds the museum’s shop, where little
gifts can be purchased. Wine and spirits, jams and juices, all different sorts
of cookies and handmade bags and tablecloths. There also is the museum's
catalogue available - showing both: beautiful pictures and interesting details
about the region and the museum.
In 2000 the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture awarded the “Volkskulturpreis”
for achievements in the preservation of original Austrian culture to the “Dorfmuseum
Mönchhof”. Two years later the “Tourism Award” followed. Furthermore the
museum works in cooperation with the Viennese University Institute of European
Ethnology since 1994.
Open from 1. April to 31. Oktober
Tuesday to Sunday and Holidays 10.00 - 18.30 h
Monday is closing day
June, July & August all days open