Museum History
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 Date   Origin   Summary 
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 2008Audience Development Grant / The Museum has been awarded a
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 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 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 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 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 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 \\
2008/10Magazine / 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
2007/3Magazine / Spring 2007Brian Weekes - Renaissance Man / Brian Weekes, a long-standing and stalwart Museum volunteer, has been featured in Renaissance News, a quarterly publication describing the achievements of the Government's Renaissance programme for Museums. Brian provides answers to questions posed to him concerning his involvement with the Museum.
2007/3Magazine / Spring 2007New storage for archives, Sustainable living - find our more at the Museum / The Museum's paper and photographic archives are to be stored in a newly created environmentally-sage structure within the Mitford Foulerton Studio in the basement of the Downland Gridshell. Volunteer Alan Wood prepared the design and Curator, Julian Bell and his team will undertake the construction. Museum policy is that valuable archive items are lodged with the approriate Record Office. We do however hold appropriate archives including 75,000 transparences, fully catalogued, from Roy Armstrong and this has recently been added to by the addition of the collection of Marjoris Hallam, one of our founding trustees.
Sustainability Event takes place on 20th May, with a day specifically slanted for children on 21st May.
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