The Village Museum (Romanian: Muzeul Satului) is an ethnographic open-air museum, one of the greatest museums on the Balkans, showcasing traditional Romanian village life. The museum extends to over 100,000 m2 and contains 272 authentic peasant farms and more than 60 original houses, farmsteads, windmills, watermills and churches all of Romania’s historic regions: Transylvania, Oltenia, Dobrogea and Moldavia.
The idea of an open-air museum in Romania dates back to the second half of the 19th century. The first try to create a museum dedicated to the country life in Romania was attempted in 1867 at Paris Universal Exhibition. Romanian rural constructions were exhibited there. Later on, the creation of the Village Museum is a result of intense and sustained, theoretical and field research, of museographic experiments for over a decade, coordinated by Professor Dimitrie Gusti, one of the most notable personalities in the Romanian sociology.
The official opening of the Village Museum took place on May 10, 1936, in the presence of King Carol II, and for the public, a week later, May 17, 1936.
In 1940 The Village Museum became house for refugees. After the incorporation of Bessarabia, part of Bucovina and Herta Land into the Soviet Union, Bucharest municipality decided that in some households in the museum, families of refugees from Bucovina and Bessarabia would be hosted. They remain in the museum until 1948. In 1948, the Museum opened its gates again. In 1978 it will become the Museum of popular art of the Socialist Republic of Romania and was close to be moved or simply, demolished by the communist authorities. In 1990, it finally becomes the Village Museum of Bucharest, a small map of Romania villages and of traditions all around the country. A great fire destroyed part of the complex in 2002 but the restoration work carried out on the buildings that suffered from the disaster was completed in a relatively short period, and monuments were rendered. Today carpets, pottery, rugs, icons, furniture – point to the originality of the folk creation, the sensibility and care for the beauty of the rural people can be seen in the museum.