The Open Air Museum of the Łowicz Region Village in Maurzyce

The Open Air Museum of the Łowicz Region Village in Maurzyce

The Museum of the Łowicz Region Village in Maurzyce was created in the 1970s. It collects the relics of country architecture, in particular those from the area of the old Łowicz Duchy. It was opened to the public in the mid 1980s as a branch of the Museum in Łowicz. It contains farms from the turn of the 20th century (wholly equipped farmhouses and other farm structures), and relics of the so-called “small architecture” such as wayside shrines or a bread oven. Also featured is an assamblage of agricultural machines from the mid 20th century and a display of fire engines in a reconstructed stone–and–brick fire-station from Złaków Borowy and a hay rick (bróg) where an exhibition of firefighting equipment has been set up. The architectural relics are open for visiting between 1st April and 31 October. In the remaining months, the objects may only be appreciated from the outside. With the exception of Mondays, the Museum organizes exciting performances and folk handcraft workshops such as papercutting, paper flower making (roses and poppies are characteristic of the region), embroidery and pottery. If you are planning a visit to the Museum, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the performance and workshop schedule which is available at the Museum’s website. It is also possible to organize workshops for groups, but it is necessary to contact the Museum by telephone in advance. Every year, the Museum hosts the Łowicz Banquets (Biesiady Łowieckie), which feature performances of folk bands from different regions of Poland. You can also observe folk craftsmen at work and buy their original merchandise, take a ride in a chaise, taste the regional cuisine, and compete in many exciting contests.

The 17-hectare area of the open air museum holds ca. 40 objects located according to the spatial arrangement characteristic of the Łowicz area: the first is a village type called owalnica, which has a central square (the so-called “old village” typical for the first half of the 19th century); the second is the village of the ulicówka type with houses located only on one side of the street (called a “new village,” common in the second half of the 19th century).

The “old village” section contains, among other things, a farmstead called okólnik, which means that the farm buildings create a four-sided enclosure with an inner yard called gumno. The farmstead consists of living quarters from the second half of the 19th century brought form Złaków Borowy; it belonged to the famous papercutter Justyna Grzegory. The cottage walls have been constructed using the interlocking technique (an ancient technique which has survived to our times; the wall consists of logs laid horizontally and joined at the corners with quoins forming a closed wreath; the locking of the corners may be done with the use of three different methods. The roof is a thatched hip roof constructed with the use of rafters. The farm also contains a stone byre (a reconstruction of a structure found in Złaków Kościelny), a wooden granary – lamus (which is a type of a wooden or stone building situated near the cottage and designed for storing farm tools, utensils, cereal, and food supplies) from the village of Boczki Chełmońskie. Situated within a short distance is a barn form Wić (early 20th c.), peculiar in its construction, since it was built on the so-called sochy (posts), which strengthen the structure and support the thatched, rafter hip roof. On the other side of the road is a cottage from the mid 19th century, moved from the Skowroda village; and an open-type farmstead which consists of a cottage form Złaków Borowy dating from the first half of the 19th century, a barn and a lamus from Złaków Kościelny, and a reconstructed 18th century wooden byre.

The “new village,” that is the single-sided ulicówka, is composed of 5 farmsteads and 3 stand-alone houses. The first of these is a 19th century wide-fronted cottage form Złaków Borowy. Next is a farm which consists of mid 19th century living quarters, also from Złaków Borowy, with gables decorated with the so-called fiory (white patterns); a barn from Złaków Kościelny dating from the early 20th century; a 19th century lamus from Radziejowice; and a stone–and–brick byre from 1930. Located on the other side of the road is a reconstruction of a masonry bread oven. The next buildings belong to a large farm from the turn of the 20th century. The cottage and the barn are made of wood. In these two buildings, events of various types, such as performances of folk artists and reenactments of a Łowicz-style wedding are often organized. The farm consists of buildings brought from the same settlement, Złaków Borowy. They are: a wooden household dating from the late 19th century and a barn from 1948. They are accompanied by a stone-and-brick byre built in 1928, moved from the Mastki Village. Also on display is a collection of crop preservation tools used in country farms until the mid-20th century. Next to the byre is an open hay rick (a movable roof, which is often 4-sided, supported by 4 poles which are dug into the ground; the structure is intended for the storage of hay and implements); assembled in it are farm tools and farm vehicles.

The Museum also contains a smithy and a wooden windmill of the koźlak type. The name is derived from the mill’s supporting structure, made up of a stationary kozioł (buck), on which the building with the driving and grinding mechanisms rests. Thanks to this construction, it was possible to rotate the entire structure round its vertical axis to orient the sails to the wind. While touring the Museum, it is also well to take notice of a church from 1758 form Wysokienice, a village situated on the outskirts of the old Łowicz Duchy.

A trip to the Łowicz Village Museum in Maurzyce will undoubtedly be an interesting excursion allowing for the discovery of the relics of village architecture, some of them over 200 years old. Thanks to the numerous presentations and workshops, it may also become an interesting lesson in the history of the Łowicz Region.

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