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Pioneer villages, open-air and living history museums are a travel topic.
Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada

A pioneer village is a form of living museum in which a village-size group of historic buildings is restored to their use in an earlier time period, typically with museum guide staff in period costume carrying out the tasks of tradespeople of that era with traditional methods and tools. The target eras for such historic reconstruction vary, with the "pioneer era" (widespread global colonisation by Europeans in the 1600s and 1700s, ending with adoption of steam power in the Victorian 1800s) among the most popular. Native or Viking settlements are also occasional targets for reconstruction, as a village may represent any era before the adoption of 20th century automation, industrialisation and mechanisation.

Often, the village is assembled from authentic local historic buildings which are relocated to a common site as a means of historic preservation; this may preserve structures which otherwise would be lost due to urban development or destroyed by flooding after construction of a hydroelectric dam.

A living museum need not necessarily recreate an entire village or settlement; in some cases, just one or a handful of buildings (anything from an individual mill or blacksmith shop to a historic fortress) are restored to operation. Confusingly, the term "living museum" also is often applied to nature museums or protected areas, which are not the same concept.

By its nature, this is not a comprehensive list.


Main Street of Sovereign Hill (Victoria)
  • Pioneer Village Museum, Burnie (Tasmania), covers local economic boom period from 1890-1910.
  • Sovereign Hill in Golden Point (a suburb of Ballarat, Victoria), 1851 gold rush town with sixty historically recreated buildings, costumed staff and volunteers
  • Timbertown Pioneer Village, Wauchope (New South Wales), on Oxley Highway, very good old timber town of the 1880s set on 87 acres.


Sherbrooke Village, Nova Scotia
  • Batoche (near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan), Métis settlement and site of the defeat of Louis Riel in 1885.
  • Black Creek Pioneer Village, North York (Ontario)
  • Doon Heritage Village, Kitchener (Ontario), twenty-two buildings recreate life in rural Waterloo County in 1914.
  • Fanshawe Pioneer Village, London (Ontario)
  • Fortress of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia). Village-sized historic French military settlement, destroyed after English conquest and later reconstructed.
  • Heritage Park Historical Village, Calgary (Alberta).
  • Kings Landing Historical Settlement, near Fredericton (New Brunswick), United Empire Loyalist village.
  • Lang Pioneer Village Museum, near Peterborough (Ontario)
  • L'Anse aux Meadows, on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula, partial reconstruction of small Viking settlement.
  • Pickering Museum Village, Greenwood, near Pickering (Ontario), depicts live pioneers in eighteen heritage buildings.
  • Sherbrooke Village, open-air museum in Sherbrooke (Nova Scotia)
  • Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, near Midland (Ontario), reconstructed Jesuit mission settlement.
  • Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (Село спадщини української культури), near Elk Island National Park (Alberta), shows the lives of Ukrainian Canadian settlers from the years 1899 to 1930.
  • Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg (Ontario), depicts Lost Villages from St. Lawrence Seaway (1958) flooding.
  • Village Historique Acadien, Rivière-du-Nord near Caraquet (New Brunswick), depicts an Acadian community between 1770 and 1939.
  • Village Québécois d'Antan, Drummondville (Québec)
  • Walter Wright Pioneer Village, Dawson Creek (British Columbia), depicts Dawson Creek before the Alaska Highway.


  • Boso No Mura (房総の村), reproduction of a samurai-era Japanese town street, Narita
  • Hokkaido Pioneer Village, on the outskirts of Sapporo


  • Sarawak Cultural Village, reconstructed native settlements, Sarawak

New Zealand

South Africa

South Korea

  • Seonbichon Village (선비촌), Yeongju, living museum depicting traditional Seonbi life.



  • Foteviken Viking Museum, in Höllviken in Vellinge municipality near Malmö

United Kingdom

Wax candles are home-made at Ulster American Folk Park
As the term "pioneer village" is colonial in origins and context, comparable attractions in the UK and Europe are branded as "living history museums" or "open-air museums". These terms are not the same in meaning, but there is substantial overlap.
  • Black Country Living Museum, Tipton (England), twenty-six acre outdoor recreation of the local area, including a coal mine, canal port and rebuilt houses.
  • Cosmeston Medieval Village, near Lavernock in the Vale of Glamorgan (Wales). Re-creation of 14th century peasant life in the Late Middle Ages, groups of reenactors camp in tents around the village outskirts and perform historical combat displays.
  • Living History Village of Little Woodham, seventeenth century village on ancient woodland in Rowner (on the Gosport peninsula, Hampshire). Gosport Living History Society villagers dress in costume to talk about Charles I, the impending war between the King and Parliament, their village life and day-to-day existence as if it were the summer of 1642.
  • Ulster American Folk Park, Castletown, County Tyrone (near Omagh, Northern Ireland). Historical lifestyle and experiences of immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thirty buildings, agricultural displays and animals, samples of local foods such as smoked salmon and bread, volunteers in period costume demonstrate bread making, cooking, arts and crafts, embroidery, spinning and printing.

United States of America

See also: Early United States history, Old West
Covered bridge at Old Sturbridge, Massachusetts
  • Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village, Waynesville (Ohio), nineteen original Quaker buildings from the 1700s and early 1800s.
  • Cass County Pioneer Village, Ayr (near Fargo, North Dakota), old barber shop, school, ice cream parlor, bank, gas station, depot and cook shack.
  • Colonial Williamsburg, historic area re-creates 18th-century Williamsburg (Virginia) before and during the American Revolution.
  • Divide County Museum and Pioneer Village, Crosby (North Dakota), twenty-five pioneer buildings including a bank, printing press, general store and dwelling shacks.
  • Harold Warp Pioneer Village, Minden (Nebraska)
  • Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, Mitchell (South Dakota), an archeological site with reconstructed native lodge.
  • Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge (Massachusetts) re-creates life in rural New England during the 1830s.
  • Pioneer Village, Salem (Massachusetts), three-acre re-creation of a Puritan village.
  • Prairie Village, Madison (South Dakota)

See also

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