Museum Albrecht’s Croft (No. 8) in Swołowo - Museum of the Middle Pomerania in Słupsk
Albrecht’s Croft Museum in Swołowo
The following open-air museum we visit is even more authentic than those we have seen previously. It is exactly the same with Swołowo. The whole village looks like a museum. It is the biggest oval village in Europe around which an original location of farms is retained. Walking along the small, cobbled street and around a pond which was situated in the middle of the so-called nawieś (a pasture for the whole rural community in the Middle Ages), we will feel as if we were in a real museum. Each farm is still inhabited and consists of a characteristic gate building, a cottage facing the road with its long side, a barn, and an inventory structure which from left and right side closes a yard.
Most buildings in the village were built in accordance with half-timbered development. The wooden construction was filled in with clay mixed with chaff, sawdust or shavings. Then the filling was plastered and dark beams forming a specific pattern – a black and white check. That is why Swołowo is described as the Checked-Houses-Land. This region has been promoted as a tourist product under the aegis of the Checked-Houses-Land for many years.
The whole village looks like a museum. However, up to now, it is situated only in one croft. The croft No. 8 is different than the others. It has been in the Albrecht Family since 1659. As a result of the Yalta treaty, Gerhard Albrecht, his wife Hertha and daughter Minna left the village in 1945, and went to West Germany. Then their croft was settled by Poles who moved to Swołowo. At first it was the Piecuscy Family and then the Kowalscy family. Other Swołowo farms suffered the same fate. The Albrecht’s croft was overhauled few years ago. Some buildings were demolished and rebuilt in the same way as they were originally built. Some were renovated. The cottage has now a pre-war look. Interiors were furnished in the same way as they looked in the time when the Albrecht family lived. Additional expositions connected with local craft were prepared in the inventory building. However, it is not carpentry or smithery, so popular in other open-air museums, but brewing and weaving presented in a very interesting way. There is a possibility to take part in brewing workshops!
Even though, the museum in Swołowo is the latest one in Poland (opened in 2008) it is still developing intensively. Another building came into being on the edge of the village, thanks to the support of the European Regional Development Fund. There is an outbuilding with a bread oven, a rich peasant’s barn, a cottage, and a barn which belonged to zagrodnik (a peasant, sometimes called gardener, having a small land ration and hiring himself for jobs to survive), a bread house, a carpenter’s shop, a blacksmith’s, and an ice house. Inside the rich peasant’s barn, which is expected to have a total capacity of 2758 cubic metres, will be a place for a multimedia exposition dedicated to tradition of the Pomeranian harvest festival, local tales, and culture of Poles who settled in Swołowo after 1945. It was also dedicated to not very typical subject which is hygiene in the Pomeranian village. In the loft there is also a type of cinema-theatre-meeting hall for 150 people. That will all help to get to know the lifestyle of the former inhabitants of Swołowo.
Such a big development of this small museum would not be viable without the team of Albrecht’s Croft Museum: Marzenna Mazur – manager, Dawid Gonciarz – ethnographer fascinated by the Pomeranian region, Magdalena Lesiecka – ethnographer plumbing the mysteries of the Pomeranian handicraft and Karolina Lewandowska – biotechnologist who is taking care of livestock in the croft. The Pomeranian ships and geese, goat, three horses, green legged partridge hens, cats, they all need tender loving care. The same with the trees in the garden which where there during the time of the last pre-war farmer, Gerhard Albrecht.