The "Wood and Life" International Wood Cultural Works Exhibition was co-sponsored by the International Wood Culture Society and the Jianchuan County People's Government in Jianchuan, Yunnan on September 30, 2021. This exhibition was the first time for the International Association of Wood Culture to exhibit all 148 work pieces from its collection in China.
The exhibition was open to the public at the Graz City Hall and the Stübing Open Air Museum in Austria for two months. All 148 work pieces were created by 105 artists and young students from 73 countries including China, Germany, Italy, New Zealand at the World Wood Day event in Austria in March, 2019. There were 126 pieces of woodcarving, 8 pieces of wood design, and 14 pieces of furniture all based on the theme of “Wood and Life.”
Semiluzhki fortress is a Russian historical site of the 17th century, located in the Semiluzhki village on the outskirts of Tomsk city. The small wooden fortress we see today was rebuilt in 2009. Because of its geographical location on the "Siberian Route", bridging from East Asia to Europe, the fortress was one of the courier stations of The Tea Road. The fortress consists of different parts: the water well, a small wooden church dedicated to Saint Nicolas and other wooden houses in Russian style. The historic objects were nicely displayed in the exhibition room, people get to know the history and the traditions during their visit. This film leads the audience into this wooden fortress to have a deeper understanding of its great history and its importance of passing these Russian traditions to the next generation.
Established in 1970, the Open Air Museum Stuebing displays 97 reconstructed historic wooden peasant houses that are mainly used to be in the Alpine Provinces. They are lined from the west to the east according to the actual geography of Austria. A house often consists of living space for both human and livestock, with various styles and roofs made of thatches or shingles. There are various kinds of wooden houses, as different designs are made to fit local geological characteristics. Prehistoric hunting huts made with local tree bark accompanied by ancient coal-making facility can also be spotted in the museum.
For two decades Bob and Lillian Bohlen have been on a mission to change the art world's perception of wood art, from craft to fine art. By supporting and challenging wood artists to find their unique style and explore new techniques, the Bohlens have been catalysts for the development of the wood art movement. They have collected 1140 pieces and given 870 to 17 U.S. museums. The Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts recently put on "Audacious," the third exhibit of their collection. Here, the curator and the Bohlens tell the remarkable story of the wood art movement through the stunning work on display.
Through the lens of wooden toys, the appreciation for wood is more than just entertainment. From children to adults, wood is easily accessible via a variety of channels in Japan, such as the Tokyo Toy Museum, where provides a valuable learning environment to stay, play and study with wood. The Mokuiku Summit 2014 has best represented the success of the Mokuiku (Wood education) project, involving a broad range of groups and individuals, both users and lovers of wood.
The reassembled Khufu ship is just located beside the Khufu Pyramid, and it can be dated back to 2500 B.C. During the 1950s, archaeologists discovered that thousands of wooden pieces were pressed under huge limestones. Surprisingly, there was only one wooden oak that was broken after almost 4,500 years. Also, we have found related wall paintings in the tomb of Ty, a noble's tomb that can be dated back to 2500 B.C. The only difference is that Khufu ship is driven by manpower, while most of the wall paintings are about sailing boats, which are wind-driven.
Zaanse Schans is one major attraction of Netherlands, where is famous by its well-preserved historic windmills. Within here, the combination from colors, nature, and culture is vivid reflection of people's imagination about Dutch lifestyle. And these windmills provides not only touristic value but also multi traditional products. Even more, if we date back to 16th century, windmills actually helped Dutch built Holland!
The Menominee Cultural Museum in Keshena was opened in Nov. 2011. Artifacts of the tribe from the past and present are in display. It took the organizers nearly 20 years to put it together and establish the museum, and they are working to educate the general public about the culture of the tribe.
Gamla Stan, also known as "The Old Town", a small historic island in the middle of Stockholm, is rich in history and charm, filled with vintage buildings, museums, churches, narrow streets, squares, shops and restaurants.
The Wooden Horse Museum and Runstenen are owned and operated by Bill and Chintana Odell. Aside from the permanent exhibition of new and antique Dala horses, there are some old horses and Stockholm’s largest variety of newly made horses and roosters.
Patapum, a wooden boat built in 1931, is now under repair in the Maritime Museum of Barcelona. The Museum dedicates to the education on seafaring history and tradition of Spain, and passes the wooden boat construction technique onto the interested public through an outreach program. While in Ovar, Portugal, there is a wooden boat association, CENARIO, focusing on the restoration and sailing of wooden boats.
At Speicherstadt near downtown Hamburg, museums scatter on the grand harbor. The International Maritime Museum, opened in 2008, showcases Peter Tamm's collection of over 40,000 items of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art. Besides the exquisite and overarching exhibitions, the building itself is a large, old wooden structure that was formerly a warehouse.
On the other hand, the Speicherstadt Museum exhibits objects about trading, especially coffee and tea trading. All of the business activities played an important role in carving the modern look of the Speicherstadt harbor. Several wooden items used in the old day to transport goods are displayed, so are photos and stories about the timber poles that bolster the foundation of the buildings at Speicherstadt.
The house of Rieck, built in the 16th century, was restored in 1949 and handed over to the Altona Museum as a branch open air museum. The house reconstructs an image of the life of a rich peasant family back in time. Because of its large amount of wooden structure, furniture, and objects, it was subject to woodworms’ attack and was taken care of by scientists of related profession at the Johann Heinrich von Thunen-Institute (vTI) several years ago.
The Highland Folk Museum is a living history site with an area of 32 hectares. In 1955, the open-air museum is open to public with portray of domestic and working condition of the old highlanders, showing how they used to build homes, decorate houses, till soils, weave wools and dress. It encapsulates aspects of 200 years of Highland rural life, starting from the early 1700s until the present day.
According to the stone remain of each house base, the carpenters and archaeology professors from University of Glasgow are working together on an experimental project on how the wooden roof would be built and how the interior would be arranged in the past.
The museum interpreted the highland folk history by re-locate and re-create buildings and features, such as schools, farms and shops, plus monthly programs, including various workshops and music events held to provide visitors an engaging experience of the town life.
Inaugurated in 2006, The National Museum of Scotland is located in central Edinburgh. The galleries have a wide-range of collections from the age of dinosaurs, related to the technology and about the history of art and design. The museum, exhibition of which covers both natural and cultural displays, is one of the most important places to discover the story of Scotland.
Starting from relics of Iron Age, to the Formula racing car, the gallery exhibits a series of collections that present the origins of Scottish history to the present day. Wooden collections are various in the museum, including the oak sculpture of St Luke back in 1500s, the industry mining machines, etc.
The name Salzkammergut, meaning “Salt Chamber" in German, was derived from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority that ran the salt mines during the Habsburg Empire.
The salt mine, located at Hallstatt, dates back 7000 years. There are many wooden relics left in it by the miners back in time. It has therefore been an important excavation for the archeological projects conducted by the Naturhistorisches Museum at Vienna. In addition to wooden digging and collecting tools, there is a world-famous Bronze-Age wooden staircase lying deep in the mine. The staircase was used by the miners to transport goods in the mine.
Also in the region is the Anzenau Mill Museum, the first building in the town of Bad Goisern. Originally a farmhouse when it was built in the 14th century, a watermill was added to it to saw wood and make bread in the 18th century. Up until now, tasty bread is still being made and sold in the house. In 2005, the building was transformed into a museum to display the traditional lifestyle of the residents.
Bregenzerwald is in a valley situated between Lake Constance and the Arlberg Mountain that was once completely covered in woods, thus the abundant wood cultures exist in the region. The IWCS visited Hittisau, where the renowned Women’s Museum, set up in a modern wooden building, locates. We visited the wooden houses designed and built by a local architecture Mr. Nenning, learned about the local’s philosophy of natural wood use, and saw how the people preserve old wooden bridges. The people in the region also put great efforts to develop sustainable green energy by operating a biomass plant that consumes wooden residue left after constructions and so on.
The Nutcracker Museum at Neuhausen, Germany has over 5,150 nutcrackers from 28 countries that make the world’s largest collection. The museum has both the tallest and the smallest nutcrackers in the world. The largest is 10.1 meters tall while the smallest is merely 4.9mm in size. All the items were collected out of sheer interest of the owner, the Löschners family, who initially was in the business of manufacturing woodwork machines. Having business relationships with woodworkers and artists, the father of the family, Jürgen Löschner, has gradually developed his passion for the nutcrackers and now it is his son Uwe who manages the property.
The Hohenloher Freilandmuseum is located in the village of Wackershofen. This fantastic open air museum, which has collected hundreds of ancient, reconstructed rural wooden buildings from around the Badem-Wurttemberg region, serves as a popular educational and tourist destination for visitors to learn about peasant life in the past. The wooden houses are constructed with local woods such as pine, oak, and beech, and in each of the houses there are traditional wooden objects that faithfully demonstrate how people live with wooden tools back in time. There are also staff members demonstrating wood turning, crafts, and wooden furniture production.
Founded in 1898, the Royal Museum of Central Africa has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful museums devoted to display the culture of Africa. The idea to establish it germinated from the 1987 Brussels International Exhibition that displayed ethnographic objects from the Congo. Currently, the museum aims to preserve and manage its collections from countries in the central region of Africa, such as Cameroon and Congo. Imported hand-made wooden objects--such as canoe, masks, and tools—are in profusion and are accompanied with depictions that explain their cultural contexts.
The museum, once an orphanage, mainly displays objects and paintings related to the city from the 17th century onward, including numerous ancient wooden artifacts created by local artists. There are also wooden miniatures on the city’s infrastructure such as the canal and the city hall. Vivid large biblical figures made with wood stand in the public access area, and samples of large wooden poles immersed under water that support the city’s older buildings are also in display.
AUSEKļi MILL is a private open-air museum run by an enthusiastic local man, Mr. Martins Medins who is now a member of local council. He has turned his passion for culture and life into a practical idea in which demonstrations of traditional ways of living a country life and activities that engage people in fun atmosphere are helpful for raising people’s awareness of culture preservation. On our arrival, Mr. Martins Medins showed us all the equipment and objects from the olden days that he collected from all over the place and told the stories of those objects and the history of them.
Latvia does not have any mountains, but yet is covered by forests for about 60% of land. In Gauja National Park, people can operate their own land and run the business in relation to nature. The Archaeological Museum where the buried houses of 9th -10th Century were revealed represents the life of then, including tools, weapons and daily objects, up to medieval time. While in Latvia, one thing you cannot miss out is that refresh your energy in a traditional Latvian Bath house which usually lies on the imaginary ley line full of spiritual power. Having a land mostly covered with forest urges people to learn to respect the nature, and the Educational programme is committing to this very concept and brings it to the global level.
The biggest open-air museum in Latvia, Ethnographic Open-air Museum serves various purposes for tourists and citizens in Riga. The way in which they manage this open-air museum is so unique that certain houses are open to traditional craftsmen for the purpose of demonstrating their skills and selling their work. The benefit of doing so is that craftsmen’s real time demonstration attracts people and on the other hand, people get to learn the traditional woodcrafts and the museum achieve the aim of, apart from preserving historical buildings, educating people and preserving the tradition of olden day. Dr. Mārtiņš KUPLAIS, a professional historian working in this museum, guided us around and told the stories of traditional Latvia life.
A private museum, located in a small village STUDZIWODY adjacent to the border between Poland and Belarus, is run by a Russian-origin Polish man, DOROTESZ FIONIK, who is enthusiastic about reviving the local tradition of his clan and soon expanding to the Belarusian culture revival. Half of his own wooden house has been turned into a museum displaying tools and appliances of the old days. He has then bought another wooden city house and placed it just across the dirt road as his second collection for the museum. He strives to keep and revive Belarusian rituals, traditions and language by holding Belarusian festivals with people who are passionate about their own culture.
Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok is a young open-air museum aiming at bringing the ethnographic knowledge of different period of time in history to the public, especially school kids. The most particular wooden house of all is the Jews house of 100 years old which was the first house moved into this museum. Being the only open-air museum in the most southerly point of Poland, Folk Architecture Museum has gained in popularity among all levels of schools and all age groups. All the wooden houses are relatively new as most of the houses were destroyed during World War II.
Right at the border between Poland and Slovakia, only 17km northwest to the most popular ski resort Zakopane, Chochołów had an interesting history of ‘making independent’. The uprising in 1846 fighting against the rule of Austria-Hungary made Chochołów known, and this part of historical fact is kept in the small museum and a craftsman’s private museum in this village. We were lucky to meet the owner Mr. Jan Zieder, a self-taught carpenter running a wood workshop and a private museum collecting daily objects of the old days and documents/photos/letters from the war time in the village. Every year before Easter women will scrub and wash the outer walls of their cottages to make them look nice after winter. It's interestingly only women's job.
Arriving in the Liptov Village Museum, we were welcomed by a lively performance telling a story of highway man in Slovakia. Over 80% of the whole country is covered by mountains and therefore the country tale of highway man has been always a notable story to be told. The director of Liptov Village Museum, Dr Iveta Zusinova, a local grown anthropologist, commenced this museum for the sake of keeping important parts of 22 villages at which the area was wiped out to build up a dam. This museum holds various events in order to form an image of the country life in the olden days for tourists.
Spreading over the meadows at the bottom of the Western Tatras, Orava Village signals a good location for an open-air museum. Orava village museum is aiming to represent the exterior settings of settlements and the living environment of these villages of the 12th to 13th Century, and brings the visitors closer to the wooden structure and furniture with which the life of village people are connected. Scattering as a real village setting in Orava, the Latin school, the market, cattle place, fire alarm bell and the surrounding settings of the whole village compose the image of a mountainous village of the old time and offer the pleasant atmosphere for visitors to experience the country life.
The Viking ship museum is located at the Roskilde, Denmark. The museum focuses on the preservation, reconstruction and investigation of various Scandinavian boats and ships in the prehistoric and medieval times, but distinguishes itself from others for its hands-on activities.
Visitors not only learn traditional shipbuilding techniques, such as wooden nail making and rope making, but also come on board to experience the real Viking ship cruise!
The museum has many shipbuilders in charge of the ship reconstructions on which they apply the techniques from the old time. Shipbuilders reconstruct ships in the open-air exhibition area, so the public can take a close look at their works.
The SIIDA (the Sami cultural and natural museum in Inari) was opened in 1962. It provides visitors knowledge and information of Sami culture and Arctic Nature in the northernmost region of Finland.
In the exhibition hall of the SIIDA, numerous Sami wooden crafts, such as baby cradle, dishes, drinking cups, butter box, and jewelry box, etc., are well preserved and displayed. Also, there is a photo exhibition of the Sami history that tells stories of their life for generations.
In order to make a living, the indigenous Sami people have some customs, such as domesticated reindeers herding and fish catching in the river. Traditionally, the Sami lived a way of life based on seasonal movement from their winter sod dwellings or log cabins to spring, summer and autumn camps. These Sami sod huts, log cabins, and wooden boats for moving along rivers, from the 18th to 19th century, have also been collected and exhibited at the open-air area of the SIIDA .
Not only does Vasa War Ship Museum in Stockholm, Sweden preserve a magnificent warship of the 17th century- Vasa, but thousands of wooden objects that were salvaged from the wreck along with the ship reveal the detail of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques, aesthetic sense and the way of life at that time.
On January 16, 1628, Vasa sank on her maiden voyage after departing from Stockholm and sailing for just 1,500 meters. Vasa was decorated with sculptures carved in oak, pine or lime, and each of these sculptures has its underlying significance. For example, the sculptures of Roman emperors, which stand along the sides of the beak head, represent the glory and the power of Swedish King Gustav II Adolf (King Gustavus Adolphus); moreover, a male figure in a crouching position under the cathead signify that Polish men was inferior to Swedish men, because Poland and Sweden were at war in the 1620s, and more.
For over 300 years, Vasa had been lying at the depth of 32 meters in polluted water, where various bacteria and fungi had attacked the wood, and the rusted bolts of the hull had diffused into the wood and water. Today, researchers, conservators and technicians are still endeavoring in preserving the ship for the future.
Norsk Skogmuseum (The Norwegian Forest Museum) is located at Elverum, Hedmark County, Norway. The museum aims to provide the knowledge of Norwegian forest culture and life related to forestry, hunting, fishing, and aquarium.
In the museum main hall on the ground floor, many aspects of the forestry, such as timber floating, hunting, forest industry in the old times and the present times, and social conditions in forestry, including living conditions, forest fare, clothes and dress, etc., are well introduced with pictures and exhibits of forest tools and machinery. On the first floor, visitors can see numerous exhibits of hunting, trapping, and fishing in Norwegian’s everyday life.
Outside the museum, there is an arboretum, a botanical garden of trees and bushes, situated in the southeast part of the museum. The outdoor exhibits consist of various devices employed in hunting and trapping, and cabins used during logging, hunting, and fishing from 17th -20th century.
Bergen is a city and municipality on the west coast of Norway. The economy of Bergen today is based on tourism, fishery, shipping, and offshore petroleum industry. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, has a series of North European wooden houses from medieval time aligned on the side of fjord. Back in Hanseatic period, Bryggen was a business district and now is preserved and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The museums in Bergen University with rich collections of the Vikings’ hut, appliances and wooden ships are also worth a visit!
On the campus of University of Bergen lies the Cultural History Collections of University Museum that exhibits wooden axes, huts, and shipbuilding tools used by the Vikings. Bergen Maritime Museum presents Norway’s history of shipping from the past to the present; its collections of shipwrecks and ship models include Viking ships, archeological ship remains, and artifacts.
Ski museum is located in the beautiful valley of Morgedal, in Telemark. In the ski museum, visitors can watch the video introduce 4,000 years of skiing history in the multimedia room. The exhibition zone presents many kinds of skis made of wood and artificial materials. There is also a ski-making workshop demonstrating process for making wooden skis.
Part of the collection in the museum is made in the museum workshop. The workshop also accepts custom orders of making wooden skis. The handmade wooden skis were once taken as winning rewards for Australia ski competition.
All the wooden skis produced from the workshop are made by two museum ski makers - Tarjei Gjelstad, and Terje Nilsen Haugen, who also have undergone a project of making the largest wooden ski in Norway. They hope this largest wooden ski in Norway will become a representative landmark of the museum.
Situated at the Northeastern side of Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d'Orient (Orient Forest Regional Natural Park), in Champagne-Ardenne, France, Ecomusée de la Forêt d’Orient (Ecomuseum in the Orient’s Forest) well preserves abundant traditional agricultural machinery from the 16th to 17th centuries.
The open-air museum is dedicated to the memory of agricultural life of the Champagne region in the old days. There are three sites of the museum: the Maison des Jours et des Champs (The “House of days and fields”) where there are several wooden houses exhibiting chisels, ploughs, old tractors, axes, and other farming machines and tools, Boutique du charron (The Cartwright’s Workshop) where the traditional wooden wheels and wheel-making machinery are displayed, and the museum park where visitors can see several wooden barns and feel not only the beauty of France farming village but the tranquility of the country life.
The Maison de l'Outil et de la Pensee Ouvriere (Tool and Trade Museum) is located in Troyes, in a Renaissance style mansion, called Hotel de Mauroy. In 1966, the city of Troyes acquired and entrusted this mansion to the Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France, an association comprising craftsmen and artisans from the Middle Ages up to now. This association has carefully renovated the mansion and has turned it into a museum.
The museum has a rich collection of over 10,000 tools that were once used for cutting, crafting, and measuring wood by craftsmen, from the 17th to 18th century. Father Paul Feller, a Jesuit priest, is the person who first started to collect these tools since 1958. The museum also displays photos telling the history of logging, sewing, building log houses, making barrels, wheels, and more. Through these tool and photo exhibitions, the museum intends to provide knowledge and arouse the interest of apprentices, craftsmen, amateurs, and many others, about the history and the tradition of craftsmanship in the old days.
Laténium Museum is an archaeology museum located in Hauterive, suburb of Neuchâtel. Its name is a combination of “La Tène”, the name of archaeological site of the Celtic civilization back in the late Iron Age, and the word “museum.”
Inaugurated in 2001, the museum has rich archaeological collections of Celtic artifacts, and those from both older and more recent periods as well. Laténium Museum has a collection of 3000 objects, including a 20-meter long Roman wooden ship discovered in Bevaix.
Apart from indoor exhibition, there is another open-air area within the museum park. The dwellings of the lake villagers could be dated back to 1,000 BC, and the museum has reconstructed several architectures in order to demonstrate the history to the visitors.
Located in the north-east of Italy, Trento is the capital of the autonomous province Trentino. Back in the 16th century, it was the location of the Council of Trent, an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church.
Stelvio National Park, near the historical city of Trento, with an area of 400,000 hectares, is the largest national park in Italy. Founded in 1935, the park is a reserve of several protected forests. A couple of traditional farm houses “maso” and log-cutting sawmills can be found in the realm of park. One of the mills has even been turned into a museum called Ruatti mill, which is open to the public for demonstrating the traditional way of utilizing water power for grinding the grains.
Established in 1905, the National Coach Museum was first named Royal Coach Museum by Queen Amélia, who was aware of the cultural value of royal ceremonial carriages. The museum had only 29 vehicles in its original collection, and has started to increase its objects of collections after the establishment of Portugal Republic in 1910.
The museum is located within the Royal Riding Arena, which used to be the place for horse-training and horse-riding exhibition and games. It is housed in a building erected in 1787 and decorated with painted ceiling and tiles by several Portuguese artists.
Today, the National Coach Museum has wide collections of objects, including: coaches, berlins, carriages, chaise, cabriolets, litters, sedan chairs, and children’s cart, etc. And the exhibitions in the museum are primarily concerned with topics about the technical and artistic evolution of transportation means used by the European aristocracy dated back from 17th to 19th centuries.
The ASTRA Museum of Folk and Civilization, one of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, is recognised as the largest permanent open air ethnographic exhibition in Europe. The chief director of National Museum Complex, Valeriu Ion Olaru, kindly showed us the distinctive wooden architecture within the open air museum and allowed us to go into buildings to explore its interesting stories and facts.
Apart from the museum, Mr. Olaru guided us into the largest restoration institute, situated next to the open-air museum, to show the scientific way of restoration and preservation of various types of material, including wood, metal, fabric, etc.
National Village Museum, located in the Herastrau Park, north of Bucharest, was created by Dimitrie Gusti, Victor Ion Popa, and Henri H. Stahl in 1936. From 33 units of authentic wooden constructions on the first phase of building up the Village Museum to the present 272 units, village museum has strived to preserve the traditional farms and houses from all over Romania.
The homesteads including living houses, barns and stables from different area of Romania that are all displayed in this museum represent the various lives across Romania, from farmer life, poor peasant life, rich peasant life to merchant life. Various houses in people’s daily life such as public houses (pubs), churches, mills and even playgrounds are in the range of wooden representation.
Kuching is the most populous city of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, which is located on the island of Borneo. The city covers an area of 1,863 square kilometers (719 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1 million.
Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, including Iban, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau and Orang Ulu…etc. Since each group has their distinct language and culture, this multi-ethnic diversity has provided Kuching region a rich cultural and linguistic landscape.
Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital city of Malaysia and located in Peninsular Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million. It is the cultural, financial and economic center of Malaysia.
We visited Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a preserved traditional Malay house, and an exhibition on wooden arches in the National Museum of Malaysia. In addition to these, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), a governmental organization in forest management and sustainable development is also one of the remarkable places we have visited within downtown Kuala Lumpur.