Inspired by the open-air museums of Scandinavia, Peate had a vision of recreating this style of attraction, but for Welsh life and culture. His initial attempts were challenged by those outside and inside the academic world. The work on the museum commenced in 1946, thanks to the donation of land from the Earl of Plymouth.
Peate published work on the study of folk life in both English and Welsh. He was a pacifist and believed in a monoglot Welsh speaking Wales.