The Wallachian Open Air Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1925 and is visited by more than half a million people a year. How will it develop in the coming years and how does it evaluate the cooperation with the town of Rožnov pod Radhoštěm? We talked with Ing. Jindřich Ondruš, director of the museum.
Ing. Jindřich Ondruš, Ředitel muzea | Director of the museum
Mr Director, can you give our readers a brief overview of the current state of the Wallachian Open Air Museum?
In the presentation of cultural heritage, we strive to incorporate modern trends in the field of museology. We are looking for new themes relevant to contemporary visitors and transferring new objects of folk architecture. At the same time, we are increasing visitor comfort and services. We have returned to the pre-Covid era in our programme offer. Currently, we have started the construction of a new depository in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm and we will be implementing a large-scale project supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism to secure the collections.
Wallachian Open Air Museum is not only the complexes to visit, but also events, exhibitions and education programmes.
Museum is a living organism. What I mean by this is that even when the museum gates are closed or when visiting hours are over, life in the museum does not cease. For the legacy of our founders to be fulfilled, for buckwheat to grow in the fields, for sheep to graze in the paddocks, it means providing an invisible multitude of operational activities that lead to one goal. We strive to be a museum for the whole family, an ideal place to share common experiences and preserve memories. Every year we prepare 50 cultural programmes, including 4 international folklore festivals. There are also educational programmes for schools and special interest groups, 3 seasonal exhibitions, and 10 religious ceremonies.
How will the Wallachian Open Air Museum develop in the coming years? Behind the horizon of the Wallachian Village, a new museum complex is being built - Kolibiska. What will it look like?
The Kolibiska complex represents a unique project for us to expand an open-air museum in the Central European context. As part of the development, we decided to expand the museum to include a presentation of mountain pastoral agriculture, forestry and tourism in the specific environment of the Northwest Carpathians.
We have been mapping buildings that are endangered in the field for a long time. Thanks to this project we will be able to save some of them and plant them in the museum area with a reconstructed character of the environment. We try to enrich our planning with new approaches in interpretive planning and use various forms of collaboration with the public or volunteers. Within the 25-hectare site, three dozen buildings, paths and landscape features are being created to immerse you in the environment of the Carpathian mountains, forests, pastures and the lives of their inhabitants.
How do you evaluate the cooperation with the town of Rožnov pod Radhoštěm?
The Wallachian Open Air Museum is the main attraction of the town, which makes close and effective cooperation with the town necessary. Our daily visitor numbers range from 200 to 10,000 people, depending on the season and events. This fact alone means, for example, that we must deal with coordinating traffic and parking and security issues. Rožnov is not only a transit town, through which many tourists head to the Beskid Mountains or further to Slovakia, but also a tourist destination. Thanks to the coordinated cooperation of the city with hoteliers and other service providers, we are involved in the development strategy and cooperate in various cultural committees.
Mr Director, thank you for the interview.
Foto: Valašské muzeum v přírodě