The Pomeranian Folk Culture Museum in Swołowo is currently one of the most modern open-air museums in Poland.
The museum offers ample opportunities for sightseeing of 15 meticulously modernized antique country buildings erected in a frame construction, located in the very center of a “living” village. The chequer-board pattern of buildings has become a permanent part of the rural landscape, which is why Swołowo is called the capital of the “Checkered-House Land”. The village is situated 14 km west of Słupsk. Thanks to its location on the sidelines of major transportation routes, Swołowo has retained its spatial arrangement dating back to the Middle Ages. It is an oval village, or a flattened circle – one of the few in Pomerania. At the center of the village there is a spindle-shaped square typical for this type of community, with a church and a pond in its central part. The square is surrounded by two interconnecting roads, with homesteads placed by them, and beyond stretches a strip-farm arrangement. The unique architectural and spatial qualities of the village have enabled Swołowo to receive the title of the European Village of Cultural Heritage.
For several years, ethnographers and museologists have been restoring the splendor of this extraordinary village. To date, 15 historic buildings have been saved. All have become part of the Pomeranian Folk Culture Museum. The reconstructed and renovated 19th-century monuments fulfill an exhibition and cultural function. Two barns and a cowshed were furnished with multimedia ethnographic exhibitions depicting the history and rural culture of Pomerania, including: Pomeranian carpentry, woodwork, traditions and legends, and weaving. Exhibitions affect the imagination which is stimulated by many senses – with the help of visual, auditory, scent and tactile stimuli, visitors learn about the space and mood of individual exhibitions.
The museum runs a rich educational program for children and youth, including lessons and workshops connected thematically with rituals and everyday life in a former Pomeranian village. Visitors may take part in threshing cereals, chopping straw, grooming of farm animals (horses, sheep, geese, chickens and ducks are bred in the museum), cooking on an old tiled kitchen, and brewing beer according to the age-old recipe of Swołowo. There are demonstrations of baking bread and the work of a smith.
The open-air museum hosts cyclical events for tourists from all over Poland. The most popular include: “Asparagus Festival” (June), “Children’s Homestead” or educational and artistic meetings for children (every Sunday in July), “Blacksmith Forum’s Open Air” organized jointly with the Blacksmith Forum Association (August), Pomeranian Herb Festival (15 August), “Indian Summer “, during which a contest for the best home liqueur is held (end of August/beginning of September) and a culinary feast – an event known as “Goose for Saint Martin’s “(November 11), attracting goose gourmets from all over the country. The museum is open all year round. The unique architectural and spatial qualities of the village have enabled Swołowo to receive the title of the European Village of Cultural Heritage.