Museum History
(3830 Records)

 Yr/Mo   Origin   Summary 
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Sussex University / In a new partnership for 2008-9 the Museum is running courses accredited by the Sussex University Centre for Continuing Education. "Rural Lives 1300 - 1900", led by Danae Tankard, explores the lives of people in rural communites in south-east England. "The Archaeology of Buildings", led by Mike Standing, will look at Sussex buildings and relate their materials, construction techniques, form and function to the wider context of social, economic and cultural change over the centuries.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008New home for horse-drawn vehicles / The Vehicle and Implement Gallery was completed this year with a grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport/Wolfson Gallery Improvement Fund. Three of the vehicles housed in the Gallery are a Sussex dung cart from Warnham Court Farm near Horsham, a flatbed cart from Furnace Farm, Colemans Hatch, Est Sussex and a cattle transporter built in 1911 by S Horder and Sons of Loxwood.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Gonville Cottage - the thatch / Modern thatchers often strip off the thatch before re-thatching, but this was not the case in the past. The traditional practice was to re-coat with a fairly thin layer at intervals of 20 to 25 years or so, resulting in some roofs becoming enormously thick. These are an archaeological resource with great potential.

The roof of Gonville Cottage was re-coated about 10 years ago. From the inside of the roof what you see is not straw but shavings of wood. Although this material is known to have been used locally we do not know of any surviving examples, nor how it was used, so it was decided to make a prelimiary investigation. Chris Tomkins, the Museum's thatching contractor, is familiar with the roof and was interested to know more, so spent a day opening up a "trench" through all the layers of thatch.

He found that there were three layers of shavings at the base, first a "spar" coat, then the first weathering coat, and then a second weathering coat added maybe 20 years \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008How they interpret history at Colonial Williamsburg, USA / Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia between 1699 and 1780 and, together with Jamestown and Yorktown, forms part of the Historic Triangle, "the birthplace of American democracy". The 301-acre Historic Area has 88 original 18th century buildings plus a large number of other houses, hsops and public outbuildings reconstructed on their original foundations. A large number of constumed first and third person interpreters are employed. The former requires the interpreter to wear historic clothing and take on the personality and actions, including speech, of someone at a particular historic period. The latter involves the interpreter wearing costume and undertaking appropriate activity but interacting with visitors using modern language and approach.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Evening Talks / The "Tales of the Downs and Beyond" series of talks provided many enjoyable evenings this summer covering very varied topics. Danae Tankard began the series by sharing her knowledge on how to research a house history. Other subjects included dowsing, local wildlife and geology, the working life of a steeplejack, experiences of a war artist, Second World War resistance units, medieval feasts and award-winning wooden structures. In the final talk Kim Leslie, a founder trustee and the first treasure of the Museum, gave a fascinating account of its earliest years.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Winter events / On 15th and 16th November a Christmas market will be held for which the reduced admission will be
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Audience Development Grant / The Museum has been awarded a
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Blacksmith's summer extravaganza / The British Artists Blacksmiths Association AGM was held at the Museum in August. Over 120 blacksmiths attended, with delegates from USA, Canada, Australia and Europe. It was agreed that the organisation will support the Museum by making severn three-themed way markers for woodland trails.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Focusing on the Museums working woodyard / The new Woodyard exhibit is to be the focus of everal special week-long demonstrations, demonstrating all the woodyard operations, crafts and artefacts in an interesting way for visitors. The centrepiece is the hand-operated timber crane which was manufactured by John smith of Keighley about 1900 and restored in 2005-6 by the collections team. An historic racksaw was added, made c1910 by W Graham of Perth, and a working sawpit. In 2007 the open-fronted shed from Coldwaltham was dismantled and re-erected in the woodyard to provide a flexible workshop and display area. The woodyard will not be a static display but a fully functioning yard where staff and volunteers can demonstrate traditional wood-related skills. So far one Woodyard Week has been held, in July/August. Neville, the Shire horse transported the logs to the Woodyard on the Museum's timber carriage. At the yard the timber crane was used to unload the timber and stack it ready for conversion. During the \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Historic Clothing Project moves to next phase / The four-year Historic Clothing Project continues, producing historically accurate replica clothing, made by the Museum's busy needlework group. An exhibition of the work so far was held in April, and an accompanying booklet, "Cutting Your Cloth". It is aimed at building up a comprehensive stock of replica historic clothing covering a range of periods, to clothe those working in the Museum's historic buildings, thus enhancing their interpretation. So far the 34-strong group has concentrated on Tudor and Victorian women's clothing, including outer and under garments, footwear and accessories. The next phase will include working clothing for Tudor men and Stuart women, while continuing to build on the existing stock.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Collections update / Dorset Wagon: Although the wagon originates from well outside the Museum's collecting area and would normally be declined, its excellent provenance and intersting link to the museum persuaded us to accept the offer. It had been in Mr Oliver, the donor's family, since it was commissioned in 1848 by his great great grandfather, Job Rose, a miller from fiddlefored in Dorset. It remained with the family during several moves, finally arriving in Send, near Guildford. Jim Oliver, who farmed in Send, was a trustee of the Museum from 1986 and also chaired the Sites and Buildings Committee. Each county or area had distinctive agricultural vehicles whose differences in shape and construction represent strong regional traditions. The Dorset wagon will help our visitors to understand how wagons designed for similar purposes can be quite different in construction and appearance.

Hearse: A late-19th century hearse from Jeremy Exley, Chair of Northiam Parish Council, has been accepted, meeting ou \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Honorary Membership / At the Friends AGM in april honorary membership was conferred on Bob Holman, who recently retired as the Museum's gardener. Bob spent 20 years developing and tending the Museum's period gardens, based around the historic house exhibits. Bob brought a great depth of knowledge of garden history, the countryside and plants to the gardens, which range in date from late medieval to 19th century.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Day trips 2008 / In May Friends' members visited the British Museum and were given a guided tour of several galleries. The afternoon was spent at the O2 stadium visiting the Tutankhamun exhibition. A visit to East Grinstead was arranged for June where the members were guided around the town with its medieval high street buildings and later driving through Ashdown Forest accompanied by a knowledgeable commentary. The afternoon saw a visit to Saint Hill Manor, an 18th-century sandstone house one the residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. July saw the visit to Dorset National Trust property, Kingston Lacy, where the house and gardens were a delight.

During the Autumn two more trips were held, one to Dover Castle and one which was called "Tickets Please", visiting the new St Pancras Station and the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Titchfield model gifted to village / A scale model of the Titchfield Market Hall has been presented to the village of Titchfield by the Museum. The building was saved by the Museum more than 35 years ago. The model was made about 20 years ago by the Museum's assistant warden, the late Alf Bryden.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008European Open Air Museums get-together for Lifelong Learning Conference / In September 19 delegates from 13 open air museums in 12 European countries came to the Museum to celebrate the joys and challenges of lifelong learning. The theme was Learning Through the Landscape, with lectures on the development and management of the Downland landscape and the formation of the Museum and West Dean park.

Delegates toured the Museum, observing the formal learning opportunities offered to schools and adults and to view the exhibit buildings and their contents, and the way they are interpreted. An evening walk on the Trundle completed the first day.

Eight papers were delivered during the course which included a visit to the Amberley Working Museum, ending with a meal in the Limbeburners Restaurant.

The final day started with the chichester Harbour Conservancy's education team sharing the extra challenges involved in delivering learning programmes while working with the tides. The solar boat was introduced a \\
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008MSc Programmes / The Museum is now delivering two Masters programmes as a "partner college" of Bournemouth University. Both are two-year part-time courses, with the teaching delivered in six five-day units.

The new MSc Building Conservation was validated in June and began in September with more than 20 students. The course is being led by Jim Strike and will cover conservation issues in timber, masonry and lime, roofing and metals, fixtures and fittings and 20th-century buildings.

The MSc Timber Building Conservation, led by Museum Director Richard Harris, has recruited 14 students, comprising carpenters, architects, surveyors, engineers and enthusiasts.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Wheat straw experiments provide new information / The harvest of this years five acres of wheat straw for thatching was successful, and the quality of the straw seems good. The crop was closely observed as it grew and various controlled experiements have been carried out to investigate possible ways of improving length and strength still further.
2008/11Magazine / Autumn 2008Museum plans 19th century exhibit to complete farmstead trio / Within the Museum's five-year plan are plans for two more farmsteads which will complement the 16th century Bayleaf steading. One dates from the 17th century and will be based near Pendean farmhouse and the other a 19th century "Georgian" farmstead. The latter is thought desirable to illustrate developments following the Agricultural Revolution.

Plans for exhibit development include three major strands. Gonville Cottage, now identified as a shepherd's cottage with a sheep yeard, will become an exhibit focusnig on the interpretation of sheep and shepherding in the South Downs in 1851. Tindalls cottage and the church from South Wonston will be the next buildings to be re-erected.

The Museum will also continue to develop facilities in modern buildings including improved workshop and store provision on site, especially in the top car park, and a new house on site for a member of staff to ensure security and to replace Gonville Cottage now th \\
2008/3Magazine / Spring 2008Landscape Conservation Management Plan in final stages / The Museum has joined forces with the Edward James Foundation to commision a Landscape Conservation Management Plan for West Dean Park (see October 2007 Museum Magazine). Nicholas Pearson Associates has been carrying out research and writing the plan. The final draft will be presented to the steering group on 6th March.
Fascinating insights have been revealed into the development of the park, including the tight tree belts in the early 19th century, the development in the middle of the 19th century of a "Reptonesque" landscape and then, with the arrival of William James, the park was developed almost entirely for shooting.
Edward James gave the park a new life as a popular cultural legacy, and the Museum has continued this by becoming Englands leading open air museum of traditional buildings.
The concept of the plan is that history informs significance and that problems and capacity of the landscape can lead to a plan of action. West Dean's manag \\
2008/3Magazine / Spring 2008Bread and Potatoes - local children discrober the source of their food / Children from Barton's Infant School, Bognor, visited the museum in October as part of the Year of Food and Farming. This visit was aimed at helping chldren, through learning experiences, to discover more about the countryside. As part of their experience the Year 1 children harvested potoatoes with the Museum's stable team and Shire horses. Children from St Anthony's School, Chichester, also harvested potatoes, and made a second visit in November to make bread, working in the Tudor Kitchen. They also saw the flour production in the Lurgashall Mill.
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