One of the highlights of our trip to Switzerland was the day we spent at the Ballenberg Museum. This Open Air museum is situated on over 160 acres, in the Haslital Brienz-Meiringen-Hasliberg region and nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains.

Over 100 buildings are separated into 13 building groups representing the various regions of Switzerland. The different construction techniques of the farmhouses, barns, cheese making and storage sheds, outbuilding, and even operating mills are represented for each region. The buildings, some as old as the 1500's, reflect the daily lives of both the wealthy and poorer day laborers of the periods. These buildings have been moved to the museum and preserved in natural settings that gives you the feeling of actually being able to step back into that time.

Museum workers also dress in period clothes, perform the daily chores of the farmers, craftsmen, and artisans of their respective era. We saw cooking over an open fire, lace making, and workers tending to the many farm animals and gardens on the property. The Apothecary above was a beautiful building surrounded by an amazing herbal garden.
Inside were rooms filled with herb and areas where medicines would have been prepared.
One of several thatched roof houses.
I was impressed with the iron detailing on this door. What incredible craftsmanship.
A poorer laborer's home with grain storage under the living area.
A wealthy land owner's home - notice the carved wood detailing on this building.
The inside of this home - the lovely furniture suggests that this family was very well off.
The diversity of the architecture was amazing. Another area of Ballenberg that had a Hansel and Gretel feeling.
Here is a close up of the window boxes and the fruit trees.

The interior with traditional furnishings - Notice the corner cupboard shelf. Charming!

Yet another area of Ballenberg - the building detail and the window boxes were beautiful. My children especially loved this house. It had many floors and an attic bunk-room. A traditional built in bed. Though hard to see, this one was built in a small alcove by the stove to keep the family warm during the winter months. This building was extraordinary. The detailed carving all over this structure made this a unique architecural treasure. How lucky this is preserved this for all to see.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous that my children and husband would be bored and begging to leave. Just the opposite happened - it was my feet that wore out as they excitedly explored each and every building.

Ballenberg Museum is a place to visit if you are ever in that area; an incredible Swiss treasure and a wonderful day for us!! For more information check out their website.