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Mora Farmstead

The Mora farmstead shows how farmers lived in Dalarna. It includes the farmhouse, a cottage for older people, stables and a storehouse for food and clothing that was also used for sleeping in during the summer. Here, people carried out small-scale farming and cattle breeding. In the summer, the cattle were led up to the summer pasture farm, where the girls used the creamy summertime milk to make cheese and butter.

The Mora farmstead (Moragården) comprises buildings from the northwest of Dalarna. The ancient buildings show what farms in this district looked like at the end ofthe 18th century. The buildings testify to the plenteous forests, as all are of wood with wooden roofs which use birch bark to keep the rain out.

In northern Dalarna the villages were large and the farms were small. With every generation the farms were divided equally among the children, both buildings andland. In the end the fields were too small to sustain the population in the larger villages. During the 18th century it was not unusual for farmers to have only an acre or so of land that could be cultivated. Animal husbandry came to dominate farming. Life was a matter of finding fodder and grazing for the animals. Every farmer had a share in at least one summer pasture farm to which the animals were taken in the summer. In order to make a living the farmers also practised various crafts; making barrels and clocks in Mora, for example. The men also undertook long journeys by foot to look for paid work.

The farm consists of several smaller buildings for different purposes. There are two dwelling houses. Thefarmhouse, known as the Mora Cottage, was the first building to be moved to Skansen. The cottage was builtof wood in the 18th century. There is a large room on the left of the hall and a small chamber through the hall. This design is known as a single cottage. The most important space was the room itself which was used for everyday living and for festive occasions. It was here that food was prepared and eaten and here that the people slept and carried out all sorts of indoor activities.

Closest to the door is the kitchen area with a hearth and an oven. The fire in the hearth heated the room and was a source of light. Food was cooked over the flames. When the women of the farm baked bread they first lit a fire inside the oven. When the oven was hot, the coals were raked aside to make room for the bread. Mostly people baked thin, unleavened bread.

At night the people of the farm slept in bunk-beds along one wall or in the cupboard bed in one corner. People slept in a semi-reclining position with numerous pillows to support the back. There are woollen curtains to the beds and these were drawn in the winter when it was cold and draughty. The ancient round chairs are made from hollowed logs.

From the ceiling hangs a so-called crown pole with a carved animal head at each end. The decoration is reminiscent of the sort that one finds on metal objects from the iron age. The crown post demarcates the differ-ent sections of the room but was also useful for hanging clothes from or for hanging up dried bread.

On the end wall of the cottage there is a bench that formerly belonged to a clockmaker. Making clocks was a common sideline of the farmers. They manufac­tured the moving parts for the Mora clocks themselves while people in other villages were specialized in making clock-cases or in painting them.

The small chamber was used for storing clothes and asa bedroom for an old relative or an adult daughter.

The stable and other buildings The stable is next-door to the farmhouse and probablydates from the 1660s. The horses were not normally tied up but were free to walk about on the earth floor. The eastern range of buildings, to the right, consists ofseveral log cabins and sheds, most of them from the 16th century. In Mora it was common to include such buildings in the square of the farm. Otherwise utilities like these were normally placed by themselves. One of the sheds is known as the Pagan House and is built of logs on some very ancient model. This building can be dated back to the first half of the 14th century which makes it the oldest building at Skansen.

Back Mats cottage Back Mats’s cottage on the west side of the yard was intended to house the older generation. The building is now used in Skansen’s educational activities.


Buildings & workshops A - Z


1720-1820

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