Villages of relocated buildings now constitute a phenomenon of the world's repertoire of heritage. They go by a multitude of names depending on particular inflection: open air museum, folk museum, living history museum, heritage village, museum village and so forth. 1 This paper reviews the context of the form of the genre's manifestation in Australia, where it is often known as the `pioneer village'. They are the fruit of a populist vision of national history which celebrates white rural settlement as its central theme. In practice, the villages manifest a deep commitment to collecting and saving old buildings as the meaningful construction of a favourite historical identity. But the generation that established Australia's villages has been overtaken. Today, the intersection of museum villages with the managerialist pressures of local economy enhancement and modern professional standards of heritage management challenge most villages' survival.