The project consist of two parts – a practical working part which will last 6 hours per day and a study part, which takes place in the evenings and during weekends.
Houses built from wood and clay do not have as long a lifespan as houses made from stone or brick. Especially when they are not heated on a day to day basis, the natural decay sets in a lot faster. This is why archaeological reconstructions in open air museums need regular upkeep and rebuilding, a time consuming enterprise. As all visible aspects of the houses need to be worked with authentic tools and materials for the medieval period, the know-how needed for the upkeep of the houses is very specialized. Not only the houses, but also the skills necessary for building them need to be collected and preserved as immaterial heritage. This is why a historical building site at the Museum Village Düppel is such an interesting project.
One of the houses at Museum Village Düppel needs a new roof quite urgently. At the moment, all roofs are thatched with reeds, however in order to make the visitors understand better that the roof covering is open to interpretation, as it was not discovered during the archaeological excavations, we want to show different types of roofs. As part of this project, the roof of one of the smaller houses will be covered with wood shingles. Volunteers will learn to work with medieval tools, taking off bark of thin beams to renew the sub-roof construction. For shingle production, beam sections will be split with shingle splitters and carved with a drawknife. To cover the roof, shingles are layered onto the sub construction and fixed with wooden nails. Volunteers will be able to take part in every step of the process, learning to rebuild an entire roof the medieval way. The houses are not only made from wood, walls and floors are also made from clay. In order to experience the whole repertoire of medieval house building, there will also be a clay project. Working with clay is always fun, the mixing can be done with bare feet. The techniques for different wall types and a rammed earth floor are subtly different. Wood and clay working specialists will share their experience and knowledge with the volunteers, passing on old techniques and therefore helping to keep them alive.
Although this kind of work is a lot of fun, it cannot be all work. There will be plenty of opportunities to sit around a fire in the evenings, to talk about the day’s work, to get to know the fellow volunteers, employees and the volunteers of the Museum Association. Especially at weekends, the museum volunteers bring the houses to life when they cook, sow, weave and carve in medieval dress. Thus, the museum is a wonderful oasis in the busy capital of Berlin.
shared tents with beds, warm showers, toilets
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world.
During the 12th century Slavic tribes as well as incoming Germanic groups occupied the area of the modern city of Berlin. Towards the end of the 12th century, a small village was established some twenty kilometers to the south-west of the early villages of Berlin and Cölln on the River Spree. There is still ongoing debate whether the Village in Düppel was a Germanic settlement, or if it was also influenced by Slavic traditions. Although the settlement in Düppel was discovered already in 1939, it was only in 1967 that archaeologists began excavating the site. The village was almost excavated to its full extent, which is why the idea was born to re-build the houses posthole by posthole. Today the reconstructed houses form a u-shaped village setup around a picturesque common.
The Village Museum Düppel (“Museumsdorf Düppel”) is a hidden, green oasis on the edge of a modern capital city. The Village Museum Düppel is renowned for its active volunteers, who bring the medieval village to life with a variety of craft activities and experiments through their longstanding commitment. At the weekends, visitors can experience how ceramic vessels are made, how the smith produces artefacts made from iron, how willow baskets are made as well as the production of pitch and tar. Over one hundred articles have been published, containing activities and experiments carried out by the different groups in Düppel. Domestic animals, especially old breeds, are also a special research focus in Düppel. The nine hectares of the museum area are also used to grow and experiment with different crops and forest types. Special events around the year invite the visitors to experience festive occasions, themed workshops and living history groups. The products of the museum are sold in the Museum shop. The Museum Village Düppel belongs to the City Museum Berlin, which is responsible for the day to day running as well as the strategic planning and development of the site. An association made up about 800 members of which around fifty are active throughout the season, is responsible for the presentation of the medieval everyday life through living history and craft demonstrations as well as organizing donations for the upkeep of the historic houses.
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people started to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The engagement for these buildings united people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided and who filled these rooms with life again in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen’s work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by the camp fire.
Meanwhile, rooms free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; however, places have become rare where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of nepotism and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the do-ers, but be people who have a vision, who want to initiate something, but who also are aware of depending on the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.
In accordance to the above described focus on heritage European Heritage Volunteers, a branch of Open Houses, organises Heritage Projects.
Heritage Projects combine practical work for the preservation or restoration of a cultural or natural heritage site with an extensive educational part that gives the theoretical background for the hands-on works and provides deeper heritage linked knowledge. Heritage Projects focus on traditional handcraft techniques, on the revitalisation of abandoned monuments, on the restoration of historical parks, on the maintenance of cultural landscapes or on other related topics.
Some of the Heritage Projects are organised in the framework of the World Heritage Volunteers initiative. The initiative was launched as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to mobilise and involve young people and youth organisations in heritage preservation and promotion. Since 2008 more than 200 projects at more than 100 World Heritage Sites in more than 50 different countries worldwide have been organised, in which more than 3,500 volunteers from over 70 countries have taken part. The European projects of World Heritage Volunteers are coordinated by European Heritage Volunteers.
Furthermore, European Heritage Volunteers initiates, develops, supports and mentors European Heritage Volunteers Partner Projects which are organised by heritage linked non-profit organisations in other European countries.
Read more about Heritage Projects on www.heritagevolunteers.eu.
Motivation letter related to the project and CV + photo required