On this page you can search the Museum's "Museum History" database.
This includes summaries of all the articles published in the Museum's magazines up to 2013, Newsletters and Bulletins, and the minutes of the Sites & Buildings Committee ("SBC"). Records start in 1968.

All the magazines, including those published since 2013, are available to download as PDFs on the Museum's main site, www.wealddown.co.uk.

Museum History
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(3704 Records)

 Date   Origin   Summary 
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Exhibit conservation / External weatherboarding of Watersfield Stable has been replaced with new elm. The Contractor's van located in the Woodyard was recently given new exterior cladding and a new canvas roof and is now weathertight, and attention is being given to the interior paintwork and fittings. The Shepherds Hut adjacent to the sheep fold is in need of anew coat of external paint - the last major repairs were carried out in 2003.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Enjoy lunch at "The Moveable Feast" / With plans for a new refectory by the lake being developed, the museum is to upgrade its current refreshment facilities with two striking temporary structures for the 2013 season. These will comprise two circular shelters with fine views to the lake and the market squaqre, close to the site of the current caf
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Preparing for the 2013 harvest / Despite wet conditions it has been possible to sow the triticale wheat seed for this year's crop of thatching straw. A crop of barley for winter feed and bedding will also be sown again, and the remaining acres put down to grass for haymaking. Pigs and sheep were were housed around the museum. The horses play an important part in maintaining the site and carrying out various farm tasks. Museum-grown hops were used by Ballards Brewery at Rogate to brew the "Harvest Ale". This year a hop garden will be introduced at Tindalls Cottage, which was originally associated with the growing of hops.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013A successful year - despite the weather / The museum's visitor admissions for 2012 were just over 127,500, 8% lower compared with 2011, but almost identical to 2010. The wet weather, the Jubilee and the Olympics all had a negative effect. On the Sunday of the Christmas Market we had the record attendance of 8,000 visitors.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013In Brief / The museum is a lead partner in a project called Illuminating the south Downs. Working with West Sussex Museums, the South Downs National Park authority, Creative West Sussex and West Sussex County Council, the project has two elements. Firstly to identify and review the museums and collections located in West Sussex that are relevant ot the South Downs National Park, and secondly, to commission creative responses to the collections to engage new audiences.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Teacher preview days 9th March and 30th April / Teachers are invited for a free visit to explore the museum and see what we can offer schools. They can chat to the Schools Services team members in the Building Crafts Gallery where refreshments will be provided.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013School pupils have a go at thatching! / From 18th March to 26th April pupils can watch the thatcher at work, hear talks, see an exhibition, print a trail at school to do on-site and have a go at thatching on a model roof. Similar opportunities will be available when the house from Walderton is re-thatched.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Learning in a different light / We continue to try to show not only the links with history but the relationship between many subjects. The formal schools sessions closely reflect the demands of the National Curriculum but as changes to this are made we look forward to working with teachers and developing our programme. Young learners may get wet or cold, an go away with more questions than answers, but may have their interest sparked by a space, interaction or idea in a way we may never know.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013New focus on the museum's woodlands / Much of the museum site is covered by woodland, including coppice, clumps, shaws, and standard trees. We now plan a programme of talks, interpretation, demonstrations and guided walks to involve visitors in our approach to the woodland and its activities and products. The woodland management plan has five specific aims: To demonstrate the use of traditional tools and techniques; to provide for the needs of the site; to demonstrate how such woodland management affects the landscape; to use woodland for habitat and ecological education; and to provide enjoyment for visitors and demonstrate sustainable management.
A group of volunteers is being trained by Jon Roberts to help interpret and manage woodland tasks and volunteer involvement will be increased in other ways, such as creating guided walks. Demonstrations and activities relating to woodland products such as fencing, besom broom making and spar making will show visitors the wide variety of benefits the woodland r \
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Discover more about the museum's work by becoming a volunteer / The museum couldn't function without the help of its team of dedicated volunteers - and each year they are offered a wide range of training courses to help them interpret the historic buildings and rural life artefacts for visitors. If you would like to become a volunteer, please call Charlie Thwaites on 01243 811933.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Maintaining our buildings and site / This year Hambrook Barn will be rethatched by Chris Tomkins in March/April at a cost of
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013How the gift shop helps the Museum's work / The museum shop (and its online counterpart) is an important element in the museum's income. It is run by the museum's trading company, Singleton Museum Services, with profits from visitors' purches and other trading activities being used to help the work of the museum. The shop had a partial refit in January enabling the shop to stock a greater range of stock and to allow visitors to enter the museum more quickly. Next time you visit the museum have a good look round the shop. If you are a Friend you will get 10% discount.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Clothing the rural poor in 17th century Sussex and the Poplar Cottage project / The primary purpose of this project is to produce a male and a female outfit appropriate to be worn or displayed in Poplar Cottage, which has been re-intepreted as a shoemaker's cottage as it might have been around 1630. The clothing choices of the rural poor were constrained by two factors: practicalities and income. It had to be made of robust material to withstand wear and tear. The most frequent clothing in testamentary bequests is russet, a coarse but relatively light cloth. Other types of coarse woolen cloth recorded includes blanket, thickset, kersey, frieze, serve and so-called "cotton". Linsey-woolsey, a mixture of flax and wool, and fustian, a flax and cotton mix, were used for a variety of outerwear. Men's working clothes were often made of canvas or leather and sometimes cloth breeches had detachable leather linings. Coarse linen cloth like canvas, linsey and lockram was used for head and neckwear, smocks, shirts a \
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Interpreting the house from Walderton / The house from Walderton is currently undergoing a gentle re-interpretation, which will see it presented as a victualling house as it might have been around 1680. The re-interpretation is already well underway; the beds in the upper chamber now have almost complete bedding. The sage-green blanket on one of the beds was dyed with "old nettles" picked in late summer, and edged with a primrose-yellow wool thread dyed with sprintime nettles. Roger Champion will be making two new storage chests. Downstairs Roger has made a hanging cupboard and hanging shelves, a new bench, a settle chair and a number of coppered tankards. A range of smaller tiems, including earthenware tankards, some pewter way, clay pipes, iron fire furniture and storage baskets will be added in the next few months. The western half will remain unchanged. If this had been a victualling house, customers are likely to have been catered for in this half too, with additional sleeping accommodation provided \
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Tindall's Cottage - the repair works / Repairing the structural timber frame of Tindall's Cottage has been a wonderful and challenging experience. Carpentry in a frame is usually fairly consistent and recognisable but not in Tindalls! The frame contains 294 timbers, but not the staves, stairs or floorboards. Two hundred (80%) are original Tindalls timbers. However, only eight of these appear to have been new when the cottage was built. The other 192 were re-used. The frame of the cottage has an "Alice in Wonderland" quality - nothing is quite what it seems at first sight. One cannot help feeling admiration for the carpenter's skilful work.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013From the chairman / The museum's trustees have recently approved a new Forward Plan, taking the planning up to 2016. The new "Gateway Project" was explained in previous magazines. The following medium-term vision has been added: "A centre of excellence for the enjoyment, learning and understanding of the built environment, landscape, rural life and communities of south East England and the south Downs". With Tindall's Cottage, the intention is to resite farm buildings and acquire others in order to present three centuries of farming. We also wish to build on our relationship with the University of York to grow on the museum's position as a leader in the study and practice of building conservation. The plan also includes ideas for the enhancement of visitor facilities pending the more radical improvements that the Gateway Project capital investment would bring.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013From Field to Flour - via an auction / Last autumn the museum teamed up with Baird's Farm to offer a special prize for the Climping Village Ball's auction of promises, helping Baird's Farm harvest an acre of wheat, then bringing 25kg to the museum's Lurgashall Watermill for milling, reading for baking in Baird's Farm Shop ovens. Julie and Angus McIntyre, the winners, arrived with their twins, Jack and Olivia, with their sack of grain. David Meares and Bob Potts, volunteer millers, explained how the mill worked and how the grain was turned into wholemeal flour. The family saw their grain being hoisted to the top floor and poured into the hopper. The mill gradually ran up to speed and the family felt the first of their flour. After a couple of hours touring the museum they returned to see the last of their flour being weighed and bagged. They returned home with copies of the recipe book and great ideas for using the flour.
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Fund-raising dinner / The Friends will be holding a major fund-raising event on 7th September, "Dinner with Greg Wallace". This black tie event will be all about food, with MasterChef co-host Gregg Wallace as guest speaker. The dinner will be held in the Jerwood Space of the Downland Gridshell. Tickets are
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Friends' vital contribution / The Friends of the Museum makes a significant financial contribution to the museum's day-to-day operation and a variety of projects and activities. Last year's grants amounted to
2013/3Magazine / Spring 2013Medicine and Mortality 1300-1900 - 21/22 September / This weekend will focus on domestic rituals around human health, sickness, medicine and death through the ages. Demonstrations will take place, including by the Tudor Group, herbal expert Christina Stapley, the Workshipful Company of Plumbers and our domestic interpretation and gardening teams will ensure plenty of interest throughout the museum.
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