The regional museum in Unken offers tangible history of the area...
...local idiosynchrosies and interesting special exhibitions.
Stilt Dancers and Soldiers Killed in Action
Each of the remaining rooms are dedicated to a particular topic. There is an Unken Room where local traditions and costume are described. The stilt dancers here are unique – they are only found in Unken. Sepp tells the legend of the foundation of this regional tradition, „This rarity developed from the Tresterbrauch. Trester groups went from house to house on stilts wearing extra-long trousers so that they would not get wet during a flood. The stilt dancers can be seen even today at some of the traditional events, such as the Harvest Festival.“
Upstairs there is a special exhibition by the Unken Schützen (farmer troopers), „For God, the Emperor and the Fatherland – or when are we coming home?“, which remembers the fallen soldiers of the First World War. A lifesize photo of the previous owner Farmer Percht indicates the way to the special exhibition. „61 soldiers in Unken alone never returned after the war. This room shows us that these soldiers aren't just names on a war memorial, but real people with a tragic history behind each“, relates Sepp. A film produced by a member of the Schützen, gives a historical overview of the events. Contemplating the old helmets, uniforms and equipment, loaned to the museum by families from Unken, we get goosebumps. We continue on our discovery journey through the Kalchofengut.
Smuggler Trails in the Hayloft
After visiting the religious chamber we enter another room with church cribs and a scale-model of farming estate with farmhouse, warehouses, alm huts, flax hut, feeding station and many other outbuildings. Sepp spent around 3 months building this miniature artwork and even included the typical types of fence found in the region.
In the hayloft, alongside the histories of the wheelwright and timber industries, we find an exhibit which links all of the communities of the Salzburger Saalachtal: a room-sized model of the region with all villages, mountains, rivers and paths between Weißbach in Saalachtal and Weißbach near Schneizlreuth represented. There is interesting information about each place and Sepp describes his next project, „Next, I will add all of the historical smuggler trails to the model.“
Real Lumberjack Muas
We could spend hours studying all of the details and exhibits, but Sepp has a surprise for us, „Our old lumberjack Bert Falter has conjured up a real Pinzgauer Muas on the open range for you. Typical fare of the lumberjacks.“ The smell of the delicious, but admittedly less figure-flattering, sweet dish already fills the kitchen. While we watch over Bert's shoulder as he cooks on the open fire, he describes the history of the lumbermen who transported the logs along the Saalach.
It is already dark as I close the door of the Kalchofengut behind me and I am sure there are many more stories to discover here. Next time, I must ask what secrets are hidden behind the little wooden doors in the hayloft; in the wall of the kitchen or in the old hat on the ceiling of the parlour.