Museum History
(3830 Records)

 Yr/Mo   Origin   Summary 
2007/3magazine / Spring 2007Historic clothing project launched / The Museum has a clear policy for interpretation of our exhibits - people come first! 'Person to person' is our cornerstone, recognising a key strength is the extent to which visitors can talk to stewards, guides and interpreters, who demonstrate activities, some of whom wear period clothing. Our policy is to restrict the use of historic clothing to certain appropriate activities, and these are always used in the 'third person' interpretation rather than 'first person'.
The aim of the project run by hannah miller, Head of Interpretation together with social historian Ruth Goodman and historical costumier Barbara Painter is to produce a comprehensive stock of replica historic clothing with complete outfits that cover a range of sizes as well as all the appropriate periods. The project is expected to run for four years and the first phase has been funded by the Friends of the Museum
2007/3magazine / Spring 2007News in brief / Covers the wide range of groups using the Museum, wedding of Kate Easson (daughter of Volunteer Services Manager), WI groups, Councils on away-days, a group of Dutch farmers were entertained in the Gridshell by the South Downs Joint Committee and the latter location was used for several wakes as well as a funeral service for Jennifer Hayes, a frequent visit to the Museum in her role as a child minder.
2007/3magazine / Spring 2007News in brief / Timber frames for sale following the completion of the successful Timber Framing from Scatch Courses that took place during the summer of 2006. Price range
2007/3magazine / Spring 2007 Museum films now available as podcasts / The word 'podcast' derives from Apple's 'iPod' and 'broadcast' and it is a system that allows contributors to place their work on an internet site - in this case, Apple's 'iTunes store', and users to downlaod the files onto their computers and then onto their iPods, usually at no extra charge.
The Museum's video team have made a range of films about the Museum available as podcasts including The Founding Years, the construction of the Downland Gridshell, the Museum artifact store, the Romani Roots weekend 2006 and the Timber Framing from Scratch course.
To access a PC or MAC with broadband internet access is needed together with iTunes downloaded.
2007/3Magazine / Spring 2007Museum Friends' makes largest ever grants / In 2006, the highest ever grants of
2007/3Magazine / Spring 2007Children discover the countryside and history / Children enjoy the Museum in so many ways, whether they visit with family and friends for half term activities or Wonderful wednesdays or with school groups.
2008/10Magazine / Autumn 2008Historic Clothing project moves to next phase / The four-year Historic Clothing project continues, producing good quality, historically accurate replica clothing made by the Museum's busy needlework group. An exhibition was held in April enabling those involved to show their work
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008News in brief / A debut performance of a piece of music inspired by the Downland Gridshell took place in the Jerwood Gridshell space as part of Architecture08 in June. Peter Coply visited the Museum in January and was so taken by the building that he composed a symphony for string quartet and four trombones. The event was called the Incredible Architectural Musical Picnic.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008New Plan will inform future activity in West Dean Park / A Landscape Conservation Management Plan has been prepare on behalf of the Edward James Foundation and the Museum, with support from English Heritage, summarising and analysing the cultural and natural heritage values of West Dean Park and setting out policies and plans to conserve it. The plan has the following aims:

1. To understand and summarise the history, design and intended character of the Museum, arboretum and parkland landscapes

2. To present a summary description of the site as it exists today, including designations, services, geographical
information and land use

3. To establish a clear statement of significance and objectives for the future conservation of West Dean Park

4. To identify key issues and constraints

5. To prepare proposals for the conservation, repair and, where necessary, restoration of the historic values of the landscape park and arboretum

6. To make recommendations in the light of the continuing dev \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Matches and Hatches / Cathy Clark and Andy were married in the Jerwood Gridshell Space in June. A week later, on 28th June, Henry Warner, Head of Operations, married his partner, Julie, in Warblington Church. On a sunny autumn day in September Schools Services Manager, Rachel Neville, married her partner, Dave Mercer, at Birdham Church.

Guy Viney (Collections Assistant) and his wafe Katy, are the proud parents of a baby daughter Aiofe, and Head of Interpretation, Hannah Tiplady, gave birth to her son, Rudy, on 24th July. Both babies are already keen Museum visitors!
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Obituaries / The Museum is sorry to report the deaths of four volunteers who have given much time and energy to the project over many years.

Ted Waller joined the team of volunteers in 1995, initially working in Bayleaf, but eventually moving to the mill and became part of the team. Alan Lockyer was one of the regular Bayleaf stewards. Heather Vincent, along with her late husband Peter, ran the mill for 20 years and christopher Leach, with his wife Judy, stewarded many buildings before deciding to joing the milling team. He was also a Gridshell guide.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Albert Peacock / Albert Peacock, a skilled worker in farms and woods, who made a major contribution to the Museum's work, died in June at the age of 86. He joined the museum 24 years ago and it was quickly discovered that he could turn his deft hand to making hurdles, thatching spars and laths, as well as thatching itself. He was keen to involve himself in the restoration and presentation of the historic building exhibits. His thatching spars were also sold on to thatchers who were pleased to receive regular local supplies.

Albert was a well-known feature at the Museum and he was vital source of information on so many aspects of the rural world. His knowledge was put to good use in countless Museum projects.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Small Beer and the Upper Crust / The Museum's Focus Days - highlighting different aspects of our exhibits and collections - included one in September devoted to Small Beer and the Upper Crust. Different activities and demonstrations covering brewing and baking throughout the site focused on the use of yeast in both activities from the Iron Age up until Victorian times.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008News in brief / A new form of communicating with visitors has been introduced in the form of Ten Minute Talks which give a brief introduction to the main exhibit buildings. The times of the talks are advertised to visitors when they arrive. A number of volunteers have offered to help and "crib sheets" have been prepared so that each talk would cover similar ground. Attendance at these talks was varied but overall it was felt that they are a useful addition to the service to visitors and will be reteating and developing the idea next year.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008New Research will enhance school visits / A new project has been started by the Museum's Schools Service, in collaboration with historian Dr Danae Tankard, to enhance the resoruces available teacher-led visits. The revised progamme will incorporate a range of original documents and illustrative material and will be cross-curricular. Two local primary shcools have been enlisted to help with the development of the new programme by reviewing the existing materials and trialling the new ones as they are produced.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Artist-in Residence will create stories based on Museum exhibits / The Museum has made a successful application to host an Artist-in-Residence, fully funded by a prestigious Leverhulm Trust award. Jane Borodale will be working at the Museum for 10 months from September.

Jane is a fiction writer with a particular interest in history of place. She has previously written site-specific fiction for the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria, the Foundling Museum in London and the Dartington Hall Trust in Devon. She plans to research and write a group of experimental short stories, each taking an individual house from the Museum collection as its core. The project, to be presented after the residency as a publication, aims to animate a portrait of up to five Museum dwellings in the context of their original habitat.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008The House from Walderton, West Sussex / The house from Walderton, in the parish of Stoughton, West Sussex, is externally a 17th century building with walls of flint and brick. Beneath its 17th century exterior is a medieval timber-framed building which itself is a replacement of part of an earlier building which was discovered during archaeological investigation of the site.

Analysis of the surviving timber shows that the medival building comprised an open hall at the west end, and a ground floor room with a first floor chamber above at the east end. Beyond the west end of thehall there must have been an earlier structure which could have been in line with or at right angles to the surviving building.

The 17th century refurbishment amounted almost to a complete rebuild. The accommodation created was in two halves, separated by the new chimney stack and the remains of the earlier cross frame. The eastern half provided two heated living rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs. The western half provided \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008New hop display will show quality artefacts / The Museum has been slowly accumlating hop-related artefacts since 1975. A rare cast-iron hop press from Bepton was acquired in 2002, and a wooden example was acquired in 2007. As the Gridshell Artefact Store had no room to expand another location on site was sought. The open-fronted shed from Charlwood provided a solution, and the wagons which had been housed there were placed in store, leaving just the hop wagon behind. This has been recently conserved and repaired by the Conservation Team, and by the start of 2009 season a comprehensive collection of hop-related items will be on display in the shed.

The Farm Manager, Chris Baldwin, has set up a small hop garden based on historic growing techniques and the display was designed to complement his activities. A very productive relationship has been formed with the owner of one of the last hop farms in the area, which is on the south-facing slopes of the Hogs Back, in Surrey. Two visits have been made to the \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008New Trustees Appointed / Two new trustees have joined the Museum Trust. Steve Corbet led the team from Green Oak Carpentry Company who built the Gridshell as subcontractors to E A Chiverton. Debbie Chiverton also had a close connection with the Downland Gridshell as she is a director of E A Chiverton and married to Mike Wigmore who ran the Downland Gridshell Project.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Gonville Cottage to become a museum exhibit / Gonville Cottage is the Museum's best-kept secret - right in the middle of the site but largely invisible behind trees and hedges. Museum Director, Chris Zeuner, lived there in the early 1970s and since then has been occupied by people working for the Museum.

It became vacant in May this year and it was decided that it should become an exhibit. Built in circa 1847 it is an excellent example of a very common type of house, with a central entrance and staircase between two living rooms in the main range, and a rear outshot, and fills a major gap in the story told by our collections.

Danae Tankard, the Museum's history associate, discovered that in 1851 it ws occupied by a shepherd named Richard Burns who had won a number of prizes at the West Sussex Agricultural Association between 1840 and 1851. The mid-19th century tithe maps also show that it was associated with a range of farm buildings in what is now its garden - a U-shaped range of narrow sheds formi \\
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