Museum History
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 Date   Origin   Summary 
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Learning about the lives of our forebears / After 17 years in different roles at the museum, Karen Searle Barrett was appointed as the new Head of Interpretation. She describes how we do this at the museum.
What we do best here is talk to the visitors, as well as carry out many demonstrations in our building exhibits, showing and discussing with visitors such activities as cooking, spinning, making natural dyes, domestic arrangements and gardening. Traditional crafts and rural skills such as pole-lathe turning, lime slaking, blacksmithing, lead working are all vehicles for enhancing the visitor experience and better explaining our heritage.
The decision to furnish some of the houses was a big step in our interpretation work. It can never be known for sure how their previous occupants lived and worked so everyting is conjectural but based on historical evidence and research.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011From the Director / Returning to the museum, now as Director, has been a very stimulating and enjoyable experience. Many changes have taken place while I have been away, including the Downland Gridshell, Longport framhouse and the Winkhurst tudor kitchen as well as the highly successful adult learning programmes. The latter received richly-deserved international recognition in June when the museum won a coveted Europa Nostra award and was named a Grand Prix laureate by the European Commission.
My first task was the completion of the St Margaret's Mission Church from South Wonston and the Building Crafts Gallery, ready for the official opening by HRH The Duke of Gloucester in April. The next re-erection project is planned for September 2012 when Tindalls Cottage will take its place on site.
A difficult year, weatherwise and the economic climate has made it a less than easy season as regards visitors. At the Rare Breeds Show it poured with rain resulting in considerably lower attendance. Fund raising is n \\
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Professional potter offers his services / Professional potter and long-time member of the Friends, Tim Bartell has offered to become our regular potter, making replica wares for Winkhurst Tudor kitchen. With the heavy use the kitchen equipment gets every day it is inevitable that occasional breakages occur. Anything that is cracked can be used elsewhere as a general exhibit but items that are used for cooking food that will be tasted must be perfect to comply with environmental health standards. So we are always in need of replacement items, which cane become quite costly. Tim will be at the Christmas Market on 12/13th November selling his wares.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011500 Animals gather for the Rare Breeds Show / Perhaps the museum's most popular event, the Rare and Traditional Breeds show too place again in July with more than 500 cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry gathering for this delightful agriculture show. The next show will be 22nd July 2012.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011In Brief - Festival of British Archaeology / The Museum joined in with the Festival of British Archaeology in July with an exhibition on our reconstructed peasant house from Hangleton and the excavation of the deserted medieval village. Danae Tankard's text and illustrations were joined by artefacts from the dig, all of which could be handled by our visitors.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Museum's award-winning course programme for 2011-2012 / In the Historic Building Conservation section courses will include the Weald Forest Ridge project, Vernacular Architecture series, Building conservation day schools and signwriting and hand tools. Traditional rural trades and crafts a number of new subjects have been introduced for 2012 such as Botanical illustration, Papier mache, Ropework animals, Hedgerow preserves, the beauty closet of the 18th century and warming winter rememdies. Other advanced courses in a range of subjects include a Watercolour masterclass and several textile days - Improvers' Spinning, Knitting, Rag-rugging and Crochet.
A record number of the museum's MSc students, 14, will graduate at the same ceremony - several having earned distinctions for their work.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011The museum's Festival of Steam / A beautiful sunny weekend brought out a big crowd for the annual Festival of Steam, which celebrates the historical significance of many uses of steam power. Steam engines in use across the site demonstrated the kind of work for which they were originally designed.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Bursaries support historic building conservation training / Seven people have undertaken free training at the museum in the past year, thanks to a bursary scheme supported by the Newby Trust, one of whose aims is to support artisan training. Each bursary covered a different discipline: Coppice crafts, Stonework, Church conservation, Historic building conservation, Timber framing, Historic brickwork and Vernacular architecture. Each bursary allowed the student to attend a number of short courses in their chosen discipline.
The museum has been able to offer two sets of new bursaries this year, one focusing on training in the repair of timber framed buildings, with the support of the anstruther Family, and the other on practical timber framing, supported by the late Mary Cohen.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Horse Power / Heavy horses were, in June, once again back at the museum for the annual Heavy Horse and Working Animals event which showcases the abilities and versatilities of our lagest equines - a reminder of the days when horse power drove the country's economy and a taste of the different ways in which draught horses are still in use today. Among other events the St Giles steam powered fire engine demonstrated the extinguishing of a real fire.
In October the Autumn Countryside Show provided another opportunity to see heavy horses at work, ploughing alongside vintage tractors.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Trees for Tim Heymann / In March three trees, Sorbus Domestica, were planted as a memorial to Tim Heymann, past Chairman of the Friends and a Trustee of the museum. They were donated by Lady Elizabeth Benson, also a museum Trustee, who grew them at Cucumber Farm, Singleton. Tim's wife, Angela, and daughters Sarah and Helen, and other members of the family and friends were present at the planting. Tim had been involved with the museum since 1969 (a year before it's opening) until his death in 2009.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Studying the buildings of the Weald / The Wealden Buildings Study Group had its foundation in an extra muraul studies course on timber-framed buildings at Southampton University in the 1960s. It was run by Reg Mason FSA, a professional quanity surveyor, eminent scholar and local historian, he has long been interested in vernacular architecture. From the start Reg was keen that this should be a study group rather than simply a conservation group. The inclusion of the word "Wealden" in the title refers to his naming of the distinctive house-type of the region.
The group is involved in the compliation of a database bringing together the results of individual building surveys. It retains strong links with the museum and its archives are lodged in the museum library.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011People / Cathy Clark was the museum's marketing manager for over eith years, responsible for advertising, press relations, posters, literature, road signs and much more, all the elements needed to ensure a high profile for the museum. She also organised the Sustainability, Tree Dressing, Early Music and Father's Day events. Cathy has moved to a new marketing role with a firm in Chichester, but stays in contact with her many friends at the museum.
Two new trustees have been warmly welcomed, along with two new members of staff.
Jennie Peel, a former Schools Services Manager at the museum, is currently head of Conifers School, Easebourne, a post which she also held before her museum appointment. Jennie will provide a professional view on education matters. Elaine Sansom has over 20 years' experience working in the museum and heritage sector and is currently an independent museum consultant.
Michael Stevens joined us at the beginning of the season as a part-time shop supervisor; he previously worked for Da \\
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Friends' News / The Friends is a support organisation fo the museum, which runs fund-raising events and social activities for its members. It is one of the largest museum Friends groups in the country with some 5,200 memberships, representing about 12,000 individual members. So far it has raised a total of
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011Looking at things with fresh eyes. / This year we have focused on experiencing the variety of all our activities, getting to know our wonderful volunteers and generally learning how it all works. Although the museum's interpretation has always been carefully undertaken, the interpretation department is a relatively new one, started only six years ago under Hannah Tiplady who also started the Historic Clothing Project.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011The Roadshow rolls! / Some 2,200 people descended on the site from 9.30 a.m. with the queue snaking from the car park in Greenways field to the market square, dotted with tables, chairs and umbrellas ready for a bevy of antiques specialists to cast their eye over treasures unearthed from attics and the back of dusty drawers.
Although cool and cloudy, the rain held off and the contingency marquee proved surplus to requirements. Costumed interpreters from the museum offered the visitors samples of gingered-bread sweetmeats to help pass the time. Thirty volunteers helped steward the queues and looked after refereshments for the antiques specialists - a long day, ending around 7.00 p.m., but an enjoyable one.
BBC Radio Sussex broadcast their afternoon programme live from the Roadshow and there was an extra camera crew shooting the programme in 3D, the first ever BBC programme to be filmed in this format.
Two programmes were made for the Roadshow from the single event, and are likely to be broadcast on 1st \\
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011In Brief - our partnership with the South Downs Naitonal Park Authority / The museum has been awarded a Sustainable Development Community Grant by the South Downs National Park authority. This will be used to fund a feasibility study by museum consultant Jane Weeks which will also form the basis of the museum's Gateway Project Heritage Lottery Fund bid. As part of the study we are working on developing an introductory display about the National park in Hambrook barn, based around the Weald and Downland geological model which has been moved there from the former Redbins farmyard exhibition.
2011/10Magazine / Autumn 2011The Duke of Gloucester openes a church and a gallery / HRH The Duke of Gloucester visited the museum in april to officially open the Building Crafts Gallery and St Margaret's Mission Church from South Wonston, Hampshire.
This was the second visit for the Duke as he last came in 1981 to open the hall from Boarhunt. The duke toured the site and expressed great interest in the museum's work.
The Building Crafts Gallery, sited behind the market square, houses displays of traditional building crafts, including mockups of various forms of construction and building tools and materials.

St Margaret's Mission Church, sited to the north of Whittaker's Cottages, represents the typical "tin tabernacle", bought by many communities as a prefabricated kit of timber and corrugated iron and erected for regular worship in villages and towns up and down the country. Originally erected in 1909 in expectation that a larger church would be built for the growing population, it was last used in 1996, when parishioners began \\
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010"Building Conservation Comes of Age" Conference / The Adult Learning Department at the Museum will mark the 40th anniversary with a conference, Building Conservation Comes of Age, a one-day event exploring building conservation
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010Friends Grand Draw / The Friends of the Museum are promoting this draw to raise funds for the Museum
2010/3Magazine / Spring 2010From the chairman - On being a Social Enterprise / As I write this column our county is in the grip of an icy blast with widespread deep snow, disruption on our roads and to other transport services, and loss of power supplies to many homes. Indeed we lost power at home for some 43 hours. One side effect is that never before have we met so many of our neighbours! The media is full of stories of local communities working together to deal with the crisis, for example to ensure schools open and children get through to sit their exams.
The creation and maintenance of a charitable enterprise like our Museum has depended on massive community support over the years and it continues to do so. It is
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