Standing next to Laczkó Dezső Museum, the so-called Bakony House is one of the oldest open-air ethnography exhibition sites in Hungary. It was built out of citizens’ donations in 1935 and is fashioned after a petty nobleman’s house fom Öcs, a village in the Bakony Hills. The house was designed by ethnographer László Nagy and architect György Linzmayer.

The building is tri-sectional, thatched, with an earthen floor. Its long façade overlooks the flower garden, and is adorned by an internally vaulted porch with basket-handle arches resting on short columns and a wall. The arches are framed with decorative plaster on the outside. The building represents a modern type of houses of its age.

The living quarters are accessible through a single entrance. In the middle there is the open-chimney kitchen, which is divided in two areas: right behind the entrance is the covered inner porch, while the actual kitchen is situated under the open chimney. Right of the entrance is the water bench with vessels for storing drinking water. Behind it there is a small, single-shelf recess called the ’blind hole’ where pots and jars for keeping milk and milk products used to be placed. The bench left of the entrance was a place for sitting down. Opposite this is an 18th century hard wood table (repaired in the early 19th century already), a surface used for cooking. Above the beam which separates the inner porch and the kitchen there is a crockery shelf stacked with clay storage pots.

At the centre of the back wall of the kitchen we can see the rectangular big oven built of stone and bricks. Up to the time when cooking-stoves started to be used, cooking was also done on the top surface of the oven. Burning logs were placed on iron firedogs or an iron tripod was used. Cooking was done in clay pots, and later in cast iron vessels. Meat was roasted in a tin or on a spit, while fish was grilled on a circular grid.

Bread was baked in the oven; to place the loaf into the oven, the housewife stood in the recess in front of the oven door, which was called the ’casting hole’. The mouth of the oven was closed with a removable metal piece. To the right of the big oven, a smaller one was built for baking milk loaves and pastries or roasting meat. Behind the small oven was the ’ash hole’, a place for collecting the ash of wood used for soaking and washing clothes.

On either side of the oven there is a firebank: here is an opening through which the ceramic stove of the living room could be fed, but it also served as a place for cooking. At the end of the bank there is a heater housing the water cauldron. Clay pots filled with food could also be placed in the oven: these were pushed in to their place with a long two-pointed fork.

Utensils characteristic of peasants’ diet, cooking and storing methods in the region are all exhibited in the kitchen (pots, pans, bowls, roasting tins, tube-pans, Czech doughnut baking forms, glazed terracotta pots, jars, spoons, and forks). Earthenware shown here was made by potters from Veszprém, Szentgál, Nemesleányfalu, Sümeg, Tüskevár, and Kapolcs.

Left of the kitchen is the living-room. It is furnished in the old-fashioned arrangement, in corners. In the left corner between the two windows stands a so-called chambered corner-bench made in the 19th century, which has a small storage space with a door in its lower part. In front of it there is a hard-wood table also from the 19th century with a big drawer (for storing bread) and two chairs from 1704, their backs carved in the Baroque style. The table is set for a meal, covered with a weaver-made white-and-red tablecloth. Opposite the entrance is a commode from the end of the 19th century, which shows the influence of bourgeois taste. It is painted brown and has a single door and drawer. On top of it visitors can see souvenirs: a carved spice-box from the late 18th century, and a 19th century etched, Spanish-waxed mouthpiece of a pipe. Above it hangs a wooden-framed mirror.

Left of the entrance there is a 19th century painted, engraved Komárom type clothes chest. Above it is a little wooden storage cabinet (or ’blind hole’) recessed in the wall with a marquetry inlaid door, and shelves. It has a long plates-shelf in its upper part: the place for artfully decorated and painted earthenware plates and bowls which adorn the room.

In the corner opposite the entrance stands a bed made in the late 19th century, painted brown, with a high end piece, white bed-cover, and turned ornaments. In front of it there are chairs with carved backs of neoclassical-influenced and Empire style. A marquetry cabinet of similar age and quality is located at the end of the bed. Next to it there is a bench with armrests, or settee, fashioned to rustic bourgeois taste, a common furniture item in petty nobles’ houses. Beside it stands the other Komárom type painted clothes chest.

Between the commode and the bed there is a home-made wooden standing-chair or standing-frame, with a little girl placed in it, learning to stand. Near the bed a baby sleeps in swaddling-clothes in a cradle which has bars on its two sides. An elderly woman, the grandmother stands over the baby. The third child is a boy learning to walk with the help of a three-wheel home-made walker.

Right of the entrance stands a ceramic stove (heated from the kitchen) made by a Veszprém stove-maker in 1854. Its tiles are enamelled green, and the top is shaped like a crown. Near the stove there is a wooden armchair, the so-called ’woe-chair’, which was usually a place for the oldest man in the family.

As the house is home to a Clavinist petty noble family, there are family portraits, a clock, and historical paintings hanging on the wall. The puppets are dressed in the rustic bourgeois style of the 1920s and 1930s.

A Peasant House in the Heart of the City: the Bakony House Welcomes Visitors All Year Round – an interview with museum educator András Király.