Museum History
(3830 Records)

 Yr/Mo   Origin   Summary 
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Hop Harvest / The hops have been harvested from the new hop field site in Bayleaf by Chris Baldwin, the farm manager.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The Access Project - an update / The museum has been pursuing a set of smaller individual projects, with design and development being co-ordinated by the museum and carried out by consultants.

The "challenge process" in 2009 it was agreed that visitor parking should be moved to the northern boundary of the site and that visitors will enter the museum up Gonville Drive and proposals will be developed for the car parking and landscape. Having parked, visitors will buy their tickets and make shop purchases in a new building, probably adjacent to the car parks, and the development of these proposals has begun.

The lakeside site will be retained as the main catering facility but the conclusion has been reached that the aisled hall from Sole Street, which has provided undercover seating for the caf
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The Access Project - an update /
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Friends' News / Letter from the Chairman, Sarah Casdagli.

We miss Jean Piggott, who retired as Chairman at the AGM in April, but are delighted that she has become our membership secretary's regular Monday morning assistant. We also thank Lisa Larbey, who helps in the Friends office on Thursdays. Sadley we lost our great helper and friend, Win Boucher, at Easter. At the AGM we also said goodbye and thank you to John Hutson who had served on the committee since 1987.

Members of the Friends have enjoyed two tips, one to Windsor and Eton College and the second to Batemans, Kiplings house in East Sussex. The members are shortly to visit Oxford, in particular the Ashmolean Museum, and the final outing will be to London, visiting Benjamin Franklin's home and the Wellcome Foundation Museum.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all who bought grand draw tickets for the Ruby Anniversary Celebrations. The draw raised a total of
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Furnishing Projects at the Museum / The last issue of the magazine included a short article about the Hangleton interpretation project. This is now largely complete and Lesley Parker has been preparing and cooking food there. Improvements have also been made in Boarhunt medieval hall. These include a new floor and hearth, which were early in 2009 and Roger Champion has made a replica table and two chests.

Two bedsteads have appeared in Poplar Cottage, both made by Roger Champion, on is a "ladder" bed, based on an illustration in a 15th-century French manuscript and the scond bed is a "boarded" bed in which the boards are nailed rather than joined. The aim is to have the bedding in place by next spring or early summer. The ladder bed will have a "mattress" of bound sheaves, the boarded bed will have one of plaited straw. Both beds will have flock or feather "beds", linen or canvas sheeting and woollen blankets.

Additional furniture will be provided for Poplar Cottage over the coming year.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Obituaries / John Lowe

John Lowe, the museum's first director, died at his home in France on 10th August 2010, aged 82. He was appointed in 1969, continuing until 1974. He applied entrepreneurial flair and vision to the earliest days of the project, dealing with legal and administrative matters including the establishment of a company to run it in 1969, followed by charitable trust status. He died after a short illness, leaving his wife and their daughter, and two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.

Mick Betsworth

Michael Betsworth, who died in June, was one of three brothers who have worked on a wide range of building and site tasks at the museum since the early 1990s. He started working for the museum in 1992, undertaking a wide variety of jobs, about which he would talk with a great sense of enthusiasm and respect. He retired from the museum in 2005 at the age of 65. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, he told his son"It is just one of those things, boy".

Reg Knight

Reg \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Building Crafts Gallery develops behind the Market Square / A new building, which will provide a new gallery and a vital multi-purpose space, has been constructed behind the market square on the site previously occupied by the white plastic polytunnel. Thanks to funding from DCMS/Wolfson Galleries Improvement Fund, the Foyle foundation and the Friends of the Museum, the museum has been able to erect a simple timber building which will provide over 100 square metres of interior space and about 40 metres length of wall space on which will be mounted an exhibition on traditional building crafts.

For school children the building will be a huge improvement over the polytunnel and out of school term the building will be used for workshops and demonstrations for family visitors. The roof structure of the building is exposed to view inside the building. Heating will be from an air-source heat pump and photo-voltaic panels mounted on the inside valley of the roof will generate power.

The completion of this \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Richard Pailthorpe chosen as the new museum director / The museum's new director is Richard Pailthorpe who will take up the post early in January 2011. Richard worked as assistant to Chris Zeuner for 16 years between 1979 and 1995. Since leaving the museum he has successfully managed Syon Park, the London home of the dukes of Northumberland and, more recently, Parham Park here in West Sussex. He brings over 30 years' experience of heritage, museum and estate management to the post.
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Richard Harris Retires / At the end of this year the museum's director, Richard Harris, will retire, completing 35 years' service and dedication to the institution. His first task, in 1975, was surveying the timbers of the hall from Boarhunt which had recently been dismantled. Later that year he was appointed assistant to Roy Armstrong, and two years later research officer. In 1979, in succession to Roy, he was appointed research director.

Richard was very active in the teaching of building conservation, especially of timber buildings which was the foundation of the museum's adult education programme and, in particular, its delivery of an MSc, validated by Bournemouth University.

After the death of Chris Zeuner in 2001 Richard became museum director. He managed the completion of the Downland Gridshell building and leaves behind a comprehensive plan for the future development of exhibits and visitor facilities.

Richard has been appointed a visiting professor at the University of Chichester and wil \\
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010From the Chairman / The appointment process for a new Museum Director has now only taken place three times the Museum's history. In the latest search over 60 applications were received, and seven of these were selected for interview. The interviews were held of two days - a challenging process but for such an important job, not unjustifiably so.

Richard Harris, the current direct since 2001, has been associated with the museum since 1975. Under his directorship the museum has gone from strength to strength. Richard will continue to meet his teaching commitments, alongside his new position as a visiting professor at the University of chichester. He will also act as consultant or specialist adviser available to the new director on a range of topics as required
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The Museum's 2010 Christmas Card / This year the Museum's Christmas card features a Southdown sheep with Poplar Cottage in the background. The photo was taken by Charlie Thwaites, the Visitor Services Manager. The cards are available in packs of 10 at
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010The museum's early years / John Warren, who was the museum's honorary architect from 1967 to 1989, has produced a booklet "The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum@ The Early Years" as a tribute to tim Heymann, who died last year. Tim, who was agent to the West Dean Estate, was a trustee of the museum and a chairman of the Friends. The 33-page edition is limited, and can be obtained at
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Young People benefit from Future Jobs Fund project / A year ago the museum successfully applied for eight posts under the Future Jobs Fund scheme through West Sussex County Council, which had secured over
2010/10Magazine / Autumn 2010Whittaker's Cottages and their occupants / Whittaker's Cottages are from Ashtead, Surrey, and were built in the 1860s facing the newly-opened railway line between Epsom and Leatherhead. The most recent dometic exhibit in date at the museum, their structure and materials show that they were on the cusp between the vernacular tradition and buildings of the modern age.

Although the foundations and chimneys are of brick, the rest of the building is made of timber. Each cottage is 12 feet wide and 20 feet long, with two rooms on each floor. Only the front rooms have fireplaces. Behind each cottage are a washouse and privy. These cottage were opened as exhibits in the museum in 1997.

At the time of the 1881 census No. 1 Whittaker's Cottages was occupied by John Astridge, a bricklyer's labourer, his wife and four children, whilst No. 2 was occupied by Hannah Sharp, a charwoman, and her three sons aged 28, 26 and 16, all of whom were agricultural labourers. The occupants about whom we know the most are the \\
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010Lifelong learning at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum / 2009 was a very eventful year, with 3,565 student-days of learning across the Museum's programme of courses in historic building and conservation and rural trades and crafts, Masters degree programmes, evening talks and courses for heritage professional. The Learning Department was very busy in the final part of the year with bookings for Christmas gifts. Courses for 2010 are filling up fast.

The two MSc courses held were MSc Timber Building Conservation and MSc Building Conservation. Both courses are valudated by Bournemouth University. Training in historic building conservation included the conservation of timber-framed buildings, ironwork, and tile-hung and weatherboarded buildings. The timber-framing courses produce several frames per year that are availabe for sale. Students are also offered the chance to learn a new skill during 2010 covering a number of subjects.

Seven bursaries are being offered for the first time for individuals \\
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010Friends' News / Friends' Day Trips for 2010 are as follows:

Windsor and Eton college - Friday 14th May, price
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010Museum Friends' vital contribution / The Friends of the Museum makes a significant financial contribution to the Museum's day-to-day operation and a variety of projects and activities. In 2009 the grants amounted to
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010The Tale of the Flail / This year the Museum is furnishing the cottage from Hangleton to suggest what the dwelling of husbandman (peasant farmer) may have looked like in the late 13th to early 14th century. Using medieval manuscript illustrations and the archaeological report from the dig on the site of the deserted village of Hangleton, replica items are being made to depict the domestic and working lives of the inhabitants of the cottage. Roger Champion, the Museum carpenter, has already completed most of the major items of furniture.

Most of the tools used at the time were made of wood, and the Luttrell Psalter, a Book of Psalms produced for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in the first half of the 14th century is particularly well illustrated with scenes of agricultural work clearly showing the implements needed to work a medieval farm. One of the most interesting tools is the flail. It is a very simple tool, really just two sticks tied together, used to thresh cereal crops, peas and beans, to separate the se \\
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010News from the Schools Department / Five schools were able to visit the Museum thanks to the support of Kontron UK Ltd, a local business, who support schools that are struggling to finance trips to the Museum.

Hands-on farming activities have been re-introduced within the Tudor farming workshops giving the students the opportunity to use a flail and winnowing basket helping them to appreciate traditional farming skills. Schools are coming from as far awa as Appleford in Wiltshire.
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010Hurdle Making / Rod Miller, from Dorset, demonstrated wattle hurdle making, fascinating many visitors seeing close up how the traditional woodland material of hazel was worked to make a useful and practical object.
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