Summary In English
Entrance fees during the summer 2021
Adults 120 SEK, children free (up to the age of 18 together with adults)
A guided tour in English or German can be arranged –
please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The open-air museum at Bunge is a folk museum which shows how the Gotlandic peasants of the past lived. The museum´s creator, schoolteacher Th. Erlandsson (1869 – 1953), moved to Bunge from central Gotland at the end of the 19th century. At that time most of Gotland´s old buildings had already disappeared and he decided to try to save those that remained. Many local people also became interested in this idea and a piece of land was obtained from the Church. It was to this land that old buildings threatened with demolition could be transported.The first buildings arrived in 1908 – a couple of very old houses from Biskops in the parish of Bunge.
The Society of the Bunge Museum was set up in 1909 and the foundations gradually developed into one of Sweden´s most distinguished open-air museums.
The museum is surrounded by an imposing fence called a ”standtun”. As far back as the Iron Age these protective fences shielded the farmers´ holdings on Gotland.Most noticeable is the imposing gateway – a copy of one at Riddare farmstead at Hejnum.
During the Middle Ages gateways like these were erected outside churches, vicarages and the larger farmsteads of northern Gotland.There are many good examples of Gotlandic building traditions inside the museum.
Typical of the island were the timbered post and plank tar-coated houses, in Gotlandic called ”bulhus”. Since the early Middle Ages, these, as single-roomed buildings, would have been the standard type of farmhouse on rural Gotland. Though rare, cross-timbered houses existed and were said to be erected in the ”Swedish style”.
The roofs of the farm buildings were thatched with ”ag” (Cladium Mariscus – a type of sedge growing in Gotland´s marshes) and the roofs of the dwelling houses laid with planks (”falar”) or stone slabs (”flis”).
During the eighteenth century tar-coated timbered buildings gave way to whitewashed limestone houses. Floor construction was improved by lifting the joists to give the houses a dry foundation.In 1757, in order to save the forests, the state granted a 20 year tax-exemption to anybody building their house in stone rather than in wood.
On display at the Bunge Museum are three farmsteads from three different centuries along with the buildings and constructions that were important to the ancillary industries, such as mills, sawmills, limekilns, charringpile for extracting tar etc.
The oldest farmstead, ”Gammelgården” (The Old Farmstead), has its various farm buildings from the seventeenth century placed randomly around the yard.
In the eighteenth century farmstead, however, changes have taken place; the yard is now devided by a fence into a farmyard and a smaller garden. Here, the barn is built from frame-sawn timber, in contrast to the seventeenth century farmstead, were everything is made by hand, and the floor is of well-trodden clay.
Whilst, in the eighteenth century farmstead, the floor is made of broad planks, the nineteenth century farmstead (the museum´s latest addition) contains a stone dwelling-house, a copper´s workshop, a brewery and a barn with a hen house.
As late as into the seventeenth century the basic building plan for a dwelling-house was just one room with a gable entrance (as in the old farmstead ”Lunderhagestugan”). Later, the doorway was moved to the facade, leading into a small entrance hall with an adjacent sleeping chamber – ”enkelstuga”.
The next step was to add another chamber on the other side of the entrance hall – ”parstuga”. The rooms were frugally furnished, often with the furniture fixed to the walls, leaving plenty of workspace on the floor. Typical of the stone houses are the inset wall cupboards where only the doors thereof are visible.
The pre-history of Gotland is represented by several reconstructed graves, as well, as by picture stones. The four picture stones have all been moved from Hammarsänge, in the parish of Lärbro, and raised as they once would have stood.
Picture stones are prehistoric monuments, only to be found on Gotland.The oldest type is from the fifth century, and is believed to be a grave stone. The four much taller picture stones, from the eighth century, are more likely to be memorial stones, although graves are often found nearby.
In total there are about 77 buildings at the museum site. All are open to the public during opening hours.