Museum History
(3830 Records)

 Yr/Mo   Origin   Summary 
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 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 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 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 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 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 2010Training our gifted communicators / Training is not currently a requirement for volunteers, except in specialised areas such as the stables or the mill, but the museum has established a much-enlarged training programme covering a wide range of topics in up to 50 sessions a year. Each training session is led by the appropriate members of staff. The sessions are advertised in the museum newsletter which is distributed to staff and volunteers, and details are available from the museum office.
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 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 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 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.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010A new trustee / The museum's new trustee, Sam Howes, was Chichester DistrictCouncil's director of planning from 1997-2001, when he became the authority's deputy chief executive. He has been involved with the museum's planning and development since 1988.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Major Harold / When the museum's Shire mare, Rosie, died, one of the museum's volunteer, Ann Wickenden,offered to donate another horse in memory of her father, Harold. He emigrated to Canada aged 19 in 1909 as a pioneer homesteader on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, applying for a quarter section (240 acres) of virgin prairie when it was government policy to give land away free if a proportion was broken and fenced within two years. He achieved this with the use of draught horses and oxen. Ann was fascinated by stories and felt the donation of a heavy horse to a museum where traditional methods are practiced would be an appropriate memorial to him.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Schools Ruby Garden Competition / The school services department ran a ruby Garden Competition as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, open to all primary and Special schools in West Sussex. Members of the education team visited the entries to see how gardens were used to support the school curriculum and to embrace and promote issues relating to the environment and sustainable development. All the gardens were a delight. First place was Birdham CE Primary school with Shoreham Beach Primary School and Eastbrook Primary School sharing second place.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Memories of school visits / As part of the museum's 40th anniversary celebrations the schools services department created a display featuring memories of school visits over the last 40 years.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Investigating a "tin tabby" / In February 1909 the inaugural service was held in St Margaret's Mission Church, South Wonston, and the last service was held in September 1996, as a new church had been built elsewhere in the village. The museum dismantled the building in 2006 and it is expected to be open again in Spring 2011, this time as a museum exhibit.

The church was purchased as a prefabricated kit, and in dismantling it gave an ideal opportunity to find out how such kits were made and distributed. As far as is known this is the first time such an investigation has been made for a "tin tabby".

When re-erected at the museum the church will be furnished as far as possible as it was originally. South Wonston PCC has kindly offered to give us such original items as have survived, and Carol Brinson has been investigating sources of suitable furnishing to complete the picture.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Ockley Hay Barn completed / The re-erection of the Ockley Hay barn (1805) is now complete and the building houses part of a threshing train (which usually consisted of steam traction engine, threshing drum, elevator and living van). In particular it has given a home to the museum's 1862 Marshalls of Gainsborough threshing drum, now resotred, and one of the oldest working threshing machines in the country. Originally the building would have been used to store hay for winter fodder.
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 2010Rare Breeds Show celebrates 25th anniversary / One of the museum's most popular events, the Rare Bread Show, celebratated its 25th anniversary this year, with another vibrant gathering of farm animals from all over the south east. The museum is grateful to John Bushrod, volunteer organiser of the event for a number of years.
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
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