Museum History
(3704 Records)

 Date   Origin   Summary 
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Congratulations / Lisa Pescott, the museum's administration assistant was married to Lee Clarke in July.

Julian Bell, the museum's curator, and his wife Jen, on the birth of Joanna Enmily in May, a sister to Jocelyn and Jamie.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Historic Clothing and Needlework projects take leap forward / The needlework group now has a new home, in Gonville Cottage, the only original building on the site. It is now used as a display and workshop which visitors can explore and talk to the members. The group is made up of museum volunteers and interpretation staff and includes many skills from spinning to quilting to knitting. The Ruby quilt was started this year to celebrate the museum's 40th anniversary. It was made possible by financial support from the Friends and a bequest from Win Boucher, a volunteer who died in April. The result is a beautiful piece of work that will be put on display in Crawley Hall in the autumn.

The Historic Clothing Project, again funded by the Friends, was established in 2007 to make replica working-status historic clothing for the tudor, Stuart and Victorian periods. The clothing, materials and techniques used to make them are very carefully research so that the clothes can be worn in confidence that they accurate \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Unique learning experiences for schools at the museum / The museum's school services department is always happy to respond to teachers' ideas, and two of these projects took place this year. Five pupils from Rose Green Junior School became museum guides for the day during July, interpreting in Winkhurst, the museum's Tudor kitchen. Having done their homework, working with the museum's schools and interpretation departments researching the Tudors and how a tudor kitchen might have operated, they also took part in exercises to practise and strengthen their presenting skills.

Also in July 150 year 9 pupils from Oaklands Catholic School, when pupils were given a brief to rebuild a town for survivors following an apocalypse. The constructed a model replica timber-framed medieval building, working with the museum's carpenter, Roger Champion, and members of the curatorial and interpretation teams. They also had the opportunity to practice wattle and daubing.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Honorary Membership / At the Friends AGM in April honorary membership ws conferred on six people who have major contributions to the museum. The new honorary members are: John and Yvonne Hutson, Dr Gerard Lynch, Kim Leslie, Barbara Painter and Ruth Goodman.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Friends' News / Letter from the Chairman, Sarah Casdagli.

We miss Jean Piggott, who retired as Chairman at the AGM in April, but are delighted that she has become our membership secretary's regular Monday morning assistant. We also thank Lisa Larbey, who helps in the Friends office on Thursdays. Sadley we lost our great helper and friend, Win Boucher, at Easter. At the AGM we also said goodbye and thank you to John Hutson who had served on the committee since 1987.

Members of the Friends have enjoyed two tips, one to Windsor and Eton College and the second to Batemans, Kiplings house in East Sussex. The members are shortly to visit Oxford, in particular the Ashmolean Museum, and the final outing will be to London, visiting Benjamin Franklin's home and the Wellcome Foundation Museum.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all who bought grand draw tickets for the Ruby Anniversary Celebrations. The draw raised a total of
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Obituaries / John Lowe

John Lowe, the museum's first director, died at his home in France on 10th August 2010, aged 82. He was appointed in 1969, continuing until 1974. He applied entrepreneurial flair and vision to the earliest days of the project, dealing with legal and administrative matters including the establishment of a company to run it in 1969, followed by charitable trust status. He died after a short illness, leaving his wife and their daughter, and two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.

Mick Betsworth

Michael Betsworth, who died in June, was one of three brothers who have worked on a wide range of building and site tasks at the museum since the early 1990s. He started working for the museum in 1992, undertaking a wide variety of jobs, about which he would talk with a great sense of enthusiasm and respect. He retired from the museum in 2005 at the age of 65. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, he told his son"It is just one of those things, boy".

Reg Knight

Reg \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010West Sussex Citizenship ceremony / On Sussex Day, in June 2010, a West Sussex Citizenship Ceremony took place in the Downland Gridshell Jerwood Space. Forty people from 18 different countries went through the final formalities to become British citizens. The museum's gift to all new citizens in West Sussex is a family ticket for a visit any time in their first year of citizenship.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Young People benefit from Future Jobs Fund project / A year ago the museum successfully applied for eight posts under the Future Jobs Fund scheme through West Sussex County Council, which had secured over
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Museum Staff at Hungarian open air museum / In September Rachel Mercer, the museum's schools services manager and Rebecca Osborne, adult education officer, attended the biennial Lifelong Learning in Open Air Museums group at Szentendre, the Hungarian Open Air Museum near Budapest. The theme of the conference was "Learning through everyday routines" and Rachel and Rebecca's presentation showed how domestic chores are used to interpret the museum for family visitors, schools workshops and adult day schools. They took as gifts copies of the museum's new book, "Building History", and also prune suckets made in the Winkhurst kitchen as their contribution to the first evening reception.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Building conservation comes of age - the museum's anniversary conference / Most open air museums in England were founded in the 1960s and 70s, and were expressions of the rapidly increasing interest in the problems of conserving the history built environment. One of the major factors that drove Roy Armstrong to found the musum in the late 1960s was the destruction of historic buildings that he had witnessed in West Sussex, and especially in Crawley New Town.

The one-day conference entitled Building Conservation Comes of Age, held on 28th September was one of the highlights of the 40th birthday celebrations. Sixteen eminent exponents and practitioners of building conservation addressed or demonstrated to an audience of around 120 delegates, the day finishing off with a spit roast to enable networking to continue into the evening. The day was chaired by Richard Harris.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Harvesting thatching straw / The museum's crop of triticale (a wheat/rye cross) grown for thatching straw was cut by two horse-drawn binders this year. Derek Hilton used his recently-acquired Massey Harris binder, while Mark Buxton drove the museum's working Shire horses in the Albion binder, which is in the museum's collection.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010New head of interpretation / Hannah Tiplady, who joined the museum as head of interpretation in 2005, is leaving in January 2011. Karen Barrett has been appointed to the post. Her first formal connection with the museum was in 1994. Having worked with the Schools Service,and acting head of interpretation covering Hann's maternity leave, she took on the job as children's activities organiser, responsible, together with Bob Easson, for half-terms and Wonderful Wednesdays, helping Hannah for Christmas days and assisting Sue O'Keefe in the organisation of the museum 40th anniversary celebrations.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The Access Project - an update /
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Whittaker's Cottages and their occupants / Whittaker's Cottages are from Ashtead, Surrey, and were built in the 1860s facing the newly-opened railway line between Epsom and Leatherhead. The most recent dometic exhibit in date at the museum, their structure and materials show that they were on the cusp between the vernacular tradition and buildings of the modern age.

Although the foundations and chimneys are of brick, the rest of the building is made of timber. Each cottage is 12 feet wide and 20 feet long, with two rooms on each floor. Only the front rooms have fireplaces. Behind each cottage are a washouse and privy. These cottage were opened as exhibits in the museum in 1997.

At the time of the 1881 census No. 1 Whittaker's Cottages was occupied by John Astridge, a bricklyer's labourer, his wife and four children, whilst No. 2 was occupied by Hannah Sharp, a charwoman, and her three sons aged 28, 26 and 16, all of whom were agricultural labourers. The occupants about whom we know the most are the \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The Access Project - an update / The museum has been pursuing a set of smaller individual projects, with design and development being co-ordinated by the museum and carried out by consultants.

The "challenge process" in 2009 it was agreed that visitor parking should be moved to the northern boundary of the site and that visitors will enter the museum up Gonville Drive and proposals will be developed for the car parking and landscape. Having parked, visitors will buy their tickets and make shop purchases in a new building, probably adjacent to the car parks, and the development of these proposals has begun.

The lakeside site will be retained as the main catering facility but the conclusion has been reached that the aisled hall from Sole Street, which has provided undercover seating for the caf
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The museum's early years / John Warren, who was the museum's honorary architect from 1967 to 1989, has produced a booklet "The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum@ The Early Years" as a tribute to tim Heymann, who died last year. Tim, who was agent to the West Dean Estate, was a trustee of the museum and a chairman of the Friends. The 33-page edition is limited, and can be obtained at
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 201040th Anniversary Celebrations / This year the museum has been celebrating 40 years since it first opened to the public on 5th September 1970, the climax being the Ruby Anniversary Celebration Weekend which featured a host of events. The event also saw the launch of the museum's new book on its history over the four decades, entitled "Building History: The Weald & Downland Museum 1970-2010 - the first forty years", which was edited by Diana Zeuner. Other book signings over the weekend included novelist and museum trustee Kate Mosse signing copies of her latest bestseller "The Winter Ghosts", Jane Borodale, former Leverhulme Writer in Residence at the museum signing "The Book of Fires", and Ben Law, authority on sustainable woodland management with his new book "Timber Framing: Building Naturally Using Local Resources". Other projects held throughout the year were on display, a party was held for volunteers and the Friends' Grand Draw, which made over
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Building History - the story of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum / Building History: Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 1970-2010 - the first forty years, the book published for the 40th anniversary of the museum, chronicles the struggle to establish the museum in the 1960s, its extremely rapid growth through the 1970s and 1980s to its consolidated position in the 1990s as a major cultural attraction whose outstanding collections were designated by the government as being of national and international importance, and its further growth in the 2000s.

Over the last ten months of research, writing and production editing of this 200-page volume, it has been an extraordinary time, discovery, remembrance, the struggle to ensure accuracy and the juggling of dates, places and people. I decided that people would form the core of the book - it has been people who have made the museum happen, starting with the founder, Roy Armstrong, the charisma of my late husband, Christ Zeuner, who led the development for ne \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Richard Pailthorpe chosen as the new museum director / The museum's new director is Richard Pailthorpe who will take up the post early in January 2011. Richard worked as assistant to Chris Zeuner for 16 years between 1979 and 1995. Since leaving the museum he has successfully managed Syon Park, the London home of the dukes of Northumberland and, more recently, Parham Park here in West Sussex. He brings over 30 years' experience of heritage, museum and estate management to the post.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Rachel Mercer leaves / Rachel Mercer joined the museum staff in September 2004 as the schools and interpretation support officer, working with the schools services manager and head of interpretation. She was appointed as schools services manager in August 2008 and worked with educational edvisers to organise teachers' conferences at the museum. She will be greatly missed for the energy, professionalism and warmth she brought to her role.
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