The Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra with the seat in Ochla

The Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra with the seat in Ochla

The Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra with its seat in Ochla is located 6 kilometers to the south of the city of Zielona Góra. The 13 hectare area holds 51 relic objects, agricultural fields, two picturesque ponds and a forest. Cattle herding and agricultural production are carried out on Museum grounds and displays of traditional farm work constitute an element of the rich educational offer. The Museum in Ochla is proud to have in its collection two unique objects: a 17th century wine tower and a cottage from 1675.

The Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra with the seat in Ochla was created in 1982, but its history reaches back to the 1960s. In 1960, the Museum of the Lubusz Land in Zielona Góra gained an ethnography department and the collection of material relics of folk culture commenced. Since 1971, the Office of the Voivodeship Heritage Conserver was also occupied with the research and protection of the folk architecture of Lubusz Land. After a year, the Office initiated the formation of a folk architecture park in Ochla near Zielona Góra. In 1973, the first object was brought there. It was the Museum’s oldest dated building, a 1675 peasant cottage from Potrzebowo. In 1976, the Zielona Góra Ethnographic Park in Ochla was incorporated into the Ethnography Department of the Museum in Zielona Góra, and a year later it was opened for visiting as the Museum’s division. Beside the cottage form Potrzebowo, it was also already possible to see a multi-building farmstead brought form Krobielewo in Western Wielkopolska. Finally, in 1982, the ethnographic park was transformed into a separate scientific, research and educational institution, and its name functions until the present day: the Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra with the seat in Ochla. Since that moment, the Museum is constantly growing and active. Apart from presenting the artifacts of folk culture, the Museum conducts cultural and educational activity. Ever since such a possibility emerged, the institution takes advantage of European Union structural funds. Currently, the Museum has obtained considerable financial means for its expansion, and 17 new object will soon arrive.

Buildings which were brought to the Museum originate also from four neighboring ethnographic regions, not only from the old Zielona Góra Voivodeship. The majority of objects comes from eastern Łużyce Region, but Lower Silesia, western Wielkopolska and the so-called Central-Lubusz Area are also represented. Because of a cultural discontinuity of the Lubusz Land, the collection of utensils, implements and other everyday use items from this area proved to be a difficult task. In 1871, the Lubusz Land found itself within the boundaries of the German Reich. After the Second World War, the inhabiting population was forced to leave, and new settlers form different regions of Poland, from the Eastern Borderlands in particular, arrived. For this reason, the bulk of the presented equipment comes from immigrant populations.

The Museum occupies 13 hectares covered with forests, meadows, pastures, fields, and lakes. The relics of folk architecture were incorporated into the existing landscape, creating a settlement pattern resembling that of a traditional village. This fact accounts for the vast free spaces between the structures and the location of some buildings, e.g. the smithy, a considerable distance away from the rest of the buildings. Found within the Museum’s premises is an educational nature track with six stations. The track reveals the richness of the flora and fauna, the interrelation and interconnection between the natural and the cultural environment and presents impressive trees and a surface nature monument called “Leśne Źródlisko” (the “Forest Springs”).

The Museum takes pride in the fact that it possesses two buildings which are unique on the national scale. The first is an 18th century wine tower moved from the village of Baduchów. The second is the oldest dated house in the Museum, a cottage from Potrzebowo, built n 1675.

The cottage brought form Potrzebowo in western Wielkopolska is located with its front facing the road. In front of the cottage a small garden has been planted and to the side is a number of wooden beehives. The building is composed of two parts: older, of a typical log-house construction, and newer, which was built using the timer framing technique with plastered walls between the vertical beams. The roof is gabled and thatched with rye straw. The interior is divided into two parts. In the first (older) section, the main chamber occupies the entire width of the building. The second (newer) part consists of a vestibule with a large chimney, a kitchen, a receptacle, and a small chamber designed for a shoemaker’s workshop. In the kitchen and the chamber floors are wooden, the receptacle and the workshop have clay floors, and the floor of the vestibule is lined with bricks. The furnishings of the chamber come from the Babimost Region. A chest with iron fittings and initials dating from 1751 and a wooden rocking cradle are particularly interesting objects found in the structure. The equipment found in the shoemaker’s workshop comes from and authentic works of the Śliwa Family, which operated since the 19th century until 1979 in the town of Babimost.

A unique object, one which is indissolubly connected with the region, is the wine tower. The 18th century structure presented at the Museum comes from Budachów in the Central Lubusz Region. Originally, it was located in a manor complex and functioned as a storage building adjacent to a vineyard. In the Museum, the tower was placed on a small hill, and next to it a vineyard was planted. The building was constructed using timber framing filled with brick to created the so – called “Prussian Wall.” The building is several stories high and surrounded with a gallery, which rests on four vertical posts with braces. The gallery may be reached by outer stairs to admire the mountain view and the Museum grounds. In the upper floor chamber, which was once used as a tools and utensils storehouse, temporary exhibitions are now being presented. Instruments used in the production of wine can be seen in the ground level section of the building. Particularly interesting is the wooden press from 1830, barrels with dated bungs, and a wine trough from 1796.

Other relics are also worth touring, like the nearby multi-building farmstead from the village of Krobielewo, containing a cottage of a rich peasant, as well as a treadwheel and an old smithy brought from Kosieczyn. During cyclical Museum festivals, a smith uses the items on display in the smithy to craft souvenirs.

The landscape of the Museum is also diversified by two timber bell-towers, one of which is situated among the buildings within the Museum’s territory, while the other stands some distance away and is visible from the road to Ochla.

The reconstructed cottage form the Bukowina Region (the area in the Romania-Ukraine borderland) is an interesting structure. Settlers from Bukowina arrived in the Lubusz Land after the Second World War. The Bukowinians united under the Bukowina Commune Association played a considerable role in the construction and furnishing of the cottage, inside which a permanent monographic exhibition entitled “Bukowina – the Cultural Heritage” is presented.

Within the Museum boundaries, agricultural work is being carried out, including the cultivation of grape-vines, potatoes, flax, and cereal. Raising sheep and horse breeding is also carried out. Two of the heritage buildings are inhabited by Museum employees. Owing to that, the Museum in Ochla escapes the stereotypical categorization of such institutions, since it is full of life not only during the many educational-and-cultural events.

Any time of the year is a good time for a visit at the Museum, since there is always something interesting happening there. The place is ideal for spending an afternoon or an entire day with the family. Beside a tour around the Museum’s attractions, the institution also gives an opportunity to rest in a natural surrounding (benches are placed on the Museum grounds). The possibility to organize a fireplace on the island is just one of the Museum’s many attractions.

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