The origins of Elisabethfehn are closely related to the construction of the Hunte-Ems-Canal in the mid 19th century. The village evolved thanks to the cultivation of the vast wetlands in northwestern Germany in order to cut combustible peat and to gain farmland.
Elisabethfehn witnessed all the techniques of wetland cultivation (burning of peat bogs, fen cultivation, German marsh cultivation and mixed soil cultivation of sand and peat). All of them are displayed in the museum. The outdoor area covers 1.5 hectares and includes an experimental garden with 90 species of plants typical of highland and lowland fens. The garden features a fen hut, a buckwheat field, reconstructed plank walkways, a fully equipped white peat plant, numerous large machines to extract peat (bulldozers, excavators, peat cutting machines, turf collectors), the narrow-gauge steam locomotive "Katharina" and a steam tractor. Moored in the canal next to the museum are a traditional flatboat from 1900 (named Tjalk), the reconstruction (2002) of another traditional vessel (named Muttschiff or Pogge) and a barge. A very special experience is a basin filled with a layer of mud to walk around for therapeutic purposes.