At the small open air museum next to the museum building there is a dwelling house to be visited, as well as different working buildings (stable, sheds, oil mill) and sacral monuments such as a chapel with a dressable Mary-statue and carved road cross.
The ensemble of buildings shows the typical style of architecture and way of life of the nineteenth century. The wooden house constitutes the centre of the exhibition, which originates from the Szécsényi Street 7 in Karancskeszi and was transported to Balassagyarmat in 1932. The estimated 150-200 year-old-house was first taken apart and carried on seven wagons and then unloaded at the yard of the museum. There it was assembled and rebuilt by a carpenter from Karancskeszi after the original.
The house has three parts, a hip roof covered with reeds and is characteristic for the whole Palóc area. There is no chimney, the smoke is let out through a smoke vent at the top angle of the roof; the special roof extension leads the rainwater away.
The archaic Palóc house had only one room with fireplace, which at the same time had two functions – the one of the kitchen and the other of the room. In the beginning of the eighteenth century only the first room itself of a Palóc house was called a “house”. This is where the stove stove with went-hole stood, in the centre of the room. On the inglenook the food was prepared. Opposite to the stove in the corner was the most important part of the room – the table. On the main side of the table the master of the house had his place. Along the walls settles were placed which were not only used for sitting, but also for sleeping.
Tools for baking bread were kept outside the room in the kitchen. In the small room, separated from the kitchen, kitchenware was stored. From the kitchen the small room can be reached, where the women had their unheated sleeping place and at the same time provisions, textiles and hemp were kept. There stood also the bed with richly ornamented beddings. On a pole placed over the bed the clothes and boots of the family members were hanged up. The bread was hanged up on a grating for storage as well.
Earlier one lived together with the animals under the same roof, later a simple place was built for them. The wooden stable in Balassagyarmat worked still at the beginning of the nineteenth century as a mill in Bocsárlapujtő. Later the building was used in the same form as a stable; in 1933 it was reconstructed at the museum. The stable was built in a similar way as the dwelling house – in shuttering technique. The walls were covered with mud on the inside as well as on the outside. The fodder was shovelled through a bigger hole in the attic. Before the manger, under the animals a solid wooden floor was built that covered the dung pit. The horses and cows were separated through poles.
In 1934 the ensemble of the open air museum was extended with a wooden shed from Patvarc. It originates from the first half of the nineteenth century but was destroyed in the Second World War. The shed that was rebuilt in 1946 comes from Litke and was at that time estimated to be 200-250 years old. The building is made out of massive oak beams and served as storage for the agricultural produce and tools. A wine press from Szügy demonstrates the methods of wine production in 1936.
Oil was in our region extracted out of pumpkin or hemp seeds. The small oil mill stands under a construction of six posts, which was rebuilt in 1966 and originally provided shelter for the crop.
In 1996 a copy of the small chapel in Szanda was reconstructed. The original was built in 1890, its walls are made of clay bricks and the roof was covered with shingle. The small dressable wooden statue displays the Virgin Mary with the young Jesus. It is a copy of the Mary-figure standing in the church of Tereske.
The reconstruction of a road cross was also presented in 1996 – the cross from Etes served as a pattern. They are typical sacral monuments in the Palóc area, which could be looked at as biblia pauperum, i.e. as a bible of the poor. Sometimes they are remarkable works of art, which tells about the Passion of Jesus with apocryphal pictures.