A few weeks ago my grandson and I visited the Orange Empire Railway Museum (LINK) when the annual Steampunk fair was being held. This non-profit museum opened in 1956 to preserve Southern California’s railway history that dates from the 1870’s. With over 200 historic railway locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, streetcars, interurban electric cars, buildings, and other artifacts from Los Angeles and the West, the 90-acre site in Perris, California is open to the public every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas (check site for current opening days, times and special events).
After the morning wandering and exploring Beamish we drove approximately 30 miles to visit Chesters Fort (LINK) a part of Hadrian’s Wall (LINK). Driving along beautiful countryside we had to have the car disinfected for Foot and Mouth. Arriving at the fort we visited the museum to learn the history of the wall and fort, then walked through disinfecting mats for our short walk to the fort.
Back in 2001 it was decided to visit England, Scotland and Wales and to delve into the history, architecture and culture of the country. What we discovered was an excellent way to do this, Living Outdoor Museums. This was the first Living Open-Air museum that I had ever visited and it started a search for additional ones during all future travels in the USA and Europe. Visiting one gives you the experience and a real sense of the past as you discover what life was like. Within the different buildings there usually are actors in period dress demonstrating the daily life of the time being depicted, while answering questions you might have and explaining what it was like living in those times.
On a fateful August morning in 79 AD Pompeii (LINK), a Roman town-city near modern Naples, was totally destroyed and buried under a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius (LINK) killing around 3,000 people as the rest of the population had already fled before the eruption. A flood of ash and protoplasmic heated air rained down on the town for approximately 6 hours completely burying the town and its inhabitants in up to twelve layers of ash and debris up to 82 feet (25 meters) deep.
After our 2-3 hour exploration of the Viking Ships we board the bus for the short trip to the Norsk Folkemueum (link) just down the road.
Arriving at the museum we gain access using the Oslo Pass (link) again without an admission fee. Founded in 1894 the Outdoor museum is Norway’s largest Cultural History museum that includes 160 buildings from around the country and 230,000 artifacts from the 1500’s to the present. The grounds include architecture and artifacts from towns, country farms and estates and all social classes. It is interesting to see the folk art, costumes, toys, exhibits, artifacts and life from the areas these buildings were brought from. They have costumed actors in some of the buildings providing insights into the daily life and crafts during the time period of that building, the actors are so happy to discuss how life was during that time period with any guest entering. The Stave Church is one of 5 medieval buildings from the 1200’s and is very impressive both inside and out. It was deconstructed and moved to the museum when the congregation needed a larger church. Our bodies need refueling so we stop in for a very good quick lunch of sandwiches, desert and drinks in the museum café and head back out to continue our exploration of the grounds. (Text continues below gallery)
After a full day of walking at 5 PM we jump back on the bus, transfer to the T-Bane and arrive at our apartment for dinner and then off to the store to pick a few snacks for tomorrows adventures.
During all the vacations Jodi (a graphic artist) and I (architect) take you will notice a pattern, we love history, art, architecture and the culture of the country we visit. Both our families have members that have immigrated to the USA from Europe since the early 1600’s and we have visited places that just feel comfortable to us, only later to find out that our forefathers came from that area 100’s or 1,000’s of years ago.
Going to museums, art galleries, walking the streets and alleys of a destination, eating where locals dine and talking with people are the best ways to understand the similarities and differences of our countries. Never ask where to go to eat always ask where they would go to eat. It is pleasant to learn by seeing and actively participating in the ways of other cultures. We have met very wonderful and colorful individuals in our travels and would not change the way we travel for anything. We have discussed governments with the owner of a Laundromat outside of Amsterdam while we did laundry, and discussed local sites to visit during breakfast with the family of a B&B in Southern France, during all these encounters we have had wonderful conversations with so many people. Getting on the ground, staying and eating with locals rather than other tourists is amazing (better and inexpensive). Going to a café or restaurant and not being able to read a menu can bring unexpected delights, very seldom not so much, but that is the adventure. We have never been treated with disrespect and it seems a majority are willing to do their best to converse and help us with our travels.
9-30-08 – Haarlem, by Jodi
We wake up to rain, our good, clear weather has finally run out. And of course it rains when we want to visit an outdoor museum. We walk down the 3 flights of stairs to Margot’s ‘in kitchen’ dining room for breakfast. She pulled out all the stops for her great breakfast, we didn’t know where to start. There was granola, milk, drinkable yogurt, regular yogurt, a huge basket of all kind of warm breads, jams, butters, a platter of 3 different kind of lunchmeats and 2 cheeses, a basket of wedge spreadable cheeses, a bowl of strawberries, soft boiled eggs, coffee, hot chocolate, and OJ. YUM – our best breakfast yet and we stuffed ourselves. We were glad to have such bellyful knowing we would be walking the museum all day.
We thanked Margot for her hospitality and drive the 2 km to the Netherlands Open Air Museum. This museum is a collection of historic buildings from all areas of the Netherlands, relocated to this wooded land to form it’s own little historic village. The buildings included mostly farm homes, windmills, businesses, a train station and roundhouse, a doctor’s office, blacksmith, milk and cheese factory, and a brewery all from different eras depicting the lifestyle from that time. The center of the town are buildings converted to be used as a bakery and restaurants to buy food. Some of the buildings had people dressed in period dress that would answer questions, it was very interesting talking to them. Other buildings were well signed in several languages explaining their history or function.