Museum History
(3830 Records)

 Yr/Mo   Origin   Summary 
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Crowds flock to Museum's Rare Breeds show / Highland cattle took part for the first time in the annual Rare Breeds Show in July. The traditional rare breed sheep, cattle, goats and pigs were judged throughout the day in a series of rings. Other highlights are the classes for young handlers and practical demonstrations of rural crafts, especially thos concerned with wool - spinning, weaving and dying.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Working cattle training as a team / The Museum now has two pairs of Sussex X cows being trained as working cattle. Gwynne and Graceful are the older pair and Rose and ruby the youngsters - four and three-year olds respectively. Chris Baldwin, the Museum's farm manager, has been training them since they were calves and both pairs have now strated to learn the considerable skill of ploughing.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Gordon Rushmer's rural landscapes / The Museum is pleased once again to be the venue for an exhibition of works by local painter and war artist, Gordon Rushmer. Gordon will exhibit paintins of rural landcapes and other scenes in Crawley Hall from 11th to 16th May 2010. The works will be available for sale and Gordon will be on hand throughout the week to talk to visitors.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Obituaries - Martin (Tim) Heyman, John Veltom, John Herniman, Dr J Geraint Jenkins, J Kenneth Major and Ray Finucane / Tim Heyman, who served as a trustee and chaird the Friends for six years, died aged 83. His contribution to landscape matters at the museum was considerable, nourished by his love and knowledge of trees.

John Veltom, a West Sussex farmer, who was a trustee of the Museum from 1986 to 1993, has died aged 82. He brought a great deal of knowledge and experience of farming and farming history to Museum Trust meetings.

John Herniman died in May aged 75 after a short illness. For many years he led the Tuesday Gang, a group of volunteers who undertake a wide range of practical tasks around the Museum site. He was also a member of the Friends committee and a leading volunteer in the Lurgashall Mill team, where he was latterly involved in training new recruits. He undertook guided tours and ticket sales, and was involved in the care of artefacts in the Museum's collection.

Dr John Geraint \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Peer into the potting shed / Museum gardener, Carlotta Holt, has established a potting shed in the stables attached to the school from West Wittering. She is using it to dry herbs and seeds, display garden produce and store seeds for use. Tools are neatly hung on the walls and jars of ointments and oils are on display. The shed is not only useful but also utterly delightful! Visitors can peer inside, and we hope they will be able to do so every day in the season.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009New evidence of Pendean's history uncovered / Danae Tankard, the Museum's social historian, has recently uncovered new information about the inhabitants of Pendean Farmhouse. She discovered that Pendean and the adjoining farm of Hurstlands, both held by members of the Clare family, are depicted on a map of Cocking, Midhurst and Woolavington, made in 1632 or 1633.

Pendean - shown as a house and barn - is described as "Richard Clare's house and land". Hurstlands is described as "Henry Clare's house and land called Hurstland". Richard Clare bought the lease to Pendean in 1609 and was probably responsible for building the house that we have at the Museum. Henry was Richard's younger brother.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009The Beeding Tollhouse - an icon of 19th-century turnpikes / The first Turnpike Act was passed in 1663, following which Turnpike Trusts were established, empowered to finance Road improvement by issuing mortgate debt which allowed them to raise considerable sums of money. Income from tolls was to be applied to the payment of the interest on the money borrowed and ensure future road maintenance. Each turnpike act appointed a body of trustees to manage the trust. These were typically men of local importance, such as local landowners, justices of the peace and members of parliament.

In Sussex in the 1770s a large number of cross-county routes were begun. After 1800 a number of trans-Weald roads linking London to the resorts were added. Some of these involved the repair of existing highways or were short stretches of new Road inteneded to shorten routes or avoid steep gradients. The Beeding turnpike Road, established by act in 1807, fell into this category, providing an alternate route through the Adur gap \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Steam-powered sawing in the Museum's Woodlands / Visitors to the Steam Festival in august were treated to a display of steam-powered timber conversion in the Museum's working Woodyard. It was an inspiring sight for the public over the two-day event.

The job taking place was a real one. The heavy ash baulks being swing onto the saw bench belonged to the Museum which wanted to convert it into planks for use in building restoration and conservation. Using the Museum's restored hand-operated crane, built about 1900, the timber was swung into position on the bench. Great care and precision is taken to line up the timber and machinery before the engine's power is cranked up, the belt revolves and the giant circular saw slices effortlessly through the timber. The steam engine was provided by Michael Lugg, and the saw bench by Peter Mellersh. They were assisted by the Museum's woodsman, Jon Roberts. The team also produced oak cladding for Ockley Hay Barn and oak fencing for use at the stables.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Benefiting from knowledge transfer / The Museum established a link with Reading University in 2005, agreeing to run two Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) projects, one in history and the other in computing. These will gather information for the Access Project designed to prove the quality of our historical resources and find new ways to communicate them to the public.

KTP is a government scheme which helps businesses gain access to expertise in universities, colleges and research organisations. The first KTP associate was Dr Danae Tankard, who researched the social and economic background to the Museum's main exhibits. She worked through a well-planned progamme of research for the 30 months of her project and produced research reports on 10 houses on the site.

The other KTP associate was James Schoolar, who was appointed in 2007. Much of his time was spent investigating possible IT applications, implementing experimental versions of them and monitoring visitor reactions. He focused on the Museum' \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Access Project - first funding secured / The Museum has received the first funding for one of the elements of the proposed Access Project -
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Museum's 40th Anniversary - From the Chairman / The Museum was first opened in September 1970. Over the years it has been an eventful journey, and a great story to tell on the 40th Anniversary.

A number of working groups have been set up to tackle various projects such as plans for a book, a DVD, a weekend party full of public events, a fund-raising dinner and a conference (or two). It is hoped that the climax for the year might be a visit from a member of the Royal Family. Firstly, though, a commemorative 2010 calendar is now on sale.

Looking to the future, it is felt that the time is right to make a wider contribution to the community at large. Examples of this might be providing a gateway to the new South Downs National Park, broadening our work experience off to your people and providing something special for new citizens. These areas are all under discussion.

It looks as though 2010 will be another enjoyable and memorable year in the journey of this great Museum.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Collections Update / Recent Acquisitions: Set of grave markers found in an early 19th-century section of the churchyard at Shipley church; butcher's basket, about 90 years old, plus photographs of the original owner's shop in Hurstpierpoint which closed in 1917; agricultural worker's smock; and a brass measuring gauge, about which very little is known and further investigations are taking place.

Collections update: Wheelwrights' tools have been lent to a redisplay of a historic workshop at Mount Edgcumbe House near Plymouth. The loan period of three years has been agreed, after which the loan will be continued or the items returned; about 80 artefacts are loaned each year for Pulborough Harvest Festival and are displayed around the town in related shop windows; West Dean and Boxgrove schools - the Penny Farthing bicycle and child's tricycle to West Dean School for a few weeks and an old school seat and desk with lid and inkwell holder was lent to Boxgrove School, together with a working oil lamp; about \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Leverhulme Writer in Residence / For much of this year the Museum has been hosting a writer-in-residence. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust award, Jane Borodale has been working on a group of fictional stories called "The Visitor", to be published next year. Intertwining historical evidence with imagination and conjecture, each story follows the thread of the life of an individual house from the Museum collection. Jane will be reading from her Museum stories when "The Visitor" is printed in the new year - tickets to be available shortly.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009South Downs National Park announced at Museum / The Museum hosted the Government announcement of the decision to go ahead with a South Downs National Park earlier this year. Environment secretary Hilary Benn visited the Museum at the end of March for the statement. The Museum is situated within the national park area and hopes to be seen as a "gateway" to the newly-protected region. The national park is expected to be formally established in April 2010 and fully operational the following year.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Museum Renaissance / Although the Museum is operated by an independent charitable trust, it has close contact with a wider national museum and heritage world, and takes advantage of opportunities this offers to further its work.

Recently many of these opportunites have been embodied in the "Renaissance in the Regions" programme, which aims to enhance museum provision and standards in the English regions. "Renaissance" has drawn mixed reaction from museums. Some have found it highly effective but museums like the Weald and Downland have found it less useful, although there have been some minor funding opportunities.

A review of "Renaissance", which has been highly critical of its operation, has come up with some changes for the future and there would be opportunities for challenge funding, open to all museums, but no doubt with some strings attached!
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009People / Charlie Thwaites recalls a challenging season.

"As Volunteer Services Manager my job is to keep an overview of volunteering at the Museum, including welcoming new recruits, but I have also been set the challenge of forming new teams, and with the new friendships we have been able to achieve projects large and small. We have a new picnic area under the trees near Poplar Cottage and a new lime kiln and teaching area for lime slaking and brickwork. We have a resotred clay pit and the bell-frame enclosure moves closer to completion. A Wednesday team joined the famous Tuesday Gang and a hands-on Friday team has joined forces with volunteer Alan Wood to continue projects in the demonstration area. The Museum can also boast the formation of a wattle-and-daub team whose first project is starting shortly - and having spent a weekend scythe training I hope a scything team will soon follow".

"A warden's day is a patchwork of beautiful images, forward planning, friendly discussions, crises (averted) an \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009Courses / Historic Building conservation: This continues to grow and the take up of courses has been very encouraging, showing that the quality vocational training is valued by companies and individuals.

Traditional rural trades and crafts courses: This has expanded again to include many new and exciting courses. Alongside existing favourites of coracle making, poultry husbandry and rope work we now offer leather carving, tile making, cane seating and rush-hat weaving. Practical courses include historical inks and how to make your own herbarium. Other courses include ageing through the ages, tapestry workshop and traditional Sussex songs.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009"And that will never be" / Suzi Hopkins, the writer of this year's theatrical event, produced a piece of site-specific theatre suitable for all ages. The Company - a Sussex-based theatre company - arrived at the Museum at the end of July to rehears prior to the performances and workshops. As the play progressed across the Museum, in and out of some of our historic buildings and through the woods, the audience were equally enthralled by the performance and the experience of being at the Museum "out of hours". The story ended in the Market Square with a song and last drink before the audience made their way home.

Over the following week The Company performed at the Museum during the day and evening for general visitors and pre-booked audience. In addition, the Museum had invited four different groups of young people to attend specially-devised drama workshops and performances over four days.
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 2009News from the Schools Service / Transformational Learning conference: The Schools Services Department was delighted to host another teachers' conference in June - Transformational Learning - delivered by Primary Matters.The day consisted of inspirational speakers, interactive workshops and a tremendous drumming workshop by students from Thomas A'Becket and Buckingham Park Schools.

40 years of Museum school visits: As an integral part of the Museum's Ruby Anniversary celebrations the Schools Services Department will be creating a display featuring memories of school visits over the last 40 years. Please ask your friends and family for any memories of a school visit that could be used in the display (if possible with an indication of a date). Written memories, anecdotes and pictures from visits would all be welcome. The display will be opening in January 2010, so contributions need to be submitted by the end of November 2009.

Museum's Schools Services awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality B \\
2009/10Magazine / Autumn 20092009 - success in a difficult season / The 2009 season began in a period of economic gloom with major insitutions collapsing around the world. The Museum made the decision to postpone some proposed projects and looked very carefully at all our costs.

We had no indication as to how visitor numbers would be affected by the situation, but as the season unfolded we were able to maintain numbers and by the end of August we were 3% up on 2008. We were also achieving the budget that we had set before the collapse of the financial institutions around the world. There is no doubt that the dramatic devaluation of the Pound agains the Euro has encouraged people to holiday in the UK and there have also been more visitors from Europe to the Museum. Our event programme has proved very popular and the weather has been kind. So, at the end of the year, the Museum's finances will remain in a sound condition and be ready for the undoubted challenges of 2010.
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