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NEWS RELEASE - 29 July 2014
COLOUR IN HISTORIC HOMES
At the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, 21 September
Explore the domestic interior of historic homes: wall paintings, materials and furniture in a special day of fascinating demonstrations and talksincluding World Monuments Fund UK CEO and television presenter, Jonathan Foyle who will speak on Henry VII’s recently discovered marriage bed in which Henry VIII may have been conceived.
The Colour in Historic Homes day at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will appeal to anyone who is curious about home furnishings, whether historically both low or high status, or to simply draw inspiration from the past for a modern day application. The speaker’s talks are illustrated by focussing on various aspects at the Museum.
A talk on ‘unweaving the rainbow’ will set the context and start the day providing an understanding of what colour is and how we perceive it. From there the programme moves to the sixteenth century and Catherine Richardson, of the University of Kent, will discuss the colourings of homes with ‘a fringe of yellow and blue silks & venis gold’.
Evidence from portraits, and the fascinating glimpses into everyday life they offer, will precede the lunch break, when ample time has been allowed for everyone to explore the Museum and enjoy the demonstrations throughout the site.
King Henry VII’s bed is an extremely important piece of historic furniture. It retains some traces of 15th century paint and the iconography helps to help place it within the royal context of Westminster Palace and this will be explained in detail by Jonathan Foyle. In addition, architect and specialist in historic colour Dr Ian Bristow, will explore early modern interiors and their décor in ‘less than grand’ Georgian and Victorian homes.
At The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, 16 & 17 August
Take a step back in time and experience the nostalgic sights, sounds and smells of an era when steam and world class engineering powered the country!
The Vintage & Steam event at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will appeal to anyone who wants to experience a taste of life 80 years ago when some vehicles didn’t start at the turn of a key! This wonderful event will showcase a huge selection of classic, vintage and steam vehicles.
A favourite attraction at the event is the steam-powered carousel gallopers, the most popular fairground ride of the steam era, which will be powered by a Fowler Showman’s engine – just like it would have been years ago. The gallopers will be at the centre of a small traditional vintage fairground which will delight adults and children alike. Another popular exhibit is the St Giles horse drawn steam fire engine. Visitors will have the chance to watch it being operated and put to full use in the main arena.
Richard Pailthorpe, Museum Director, comments: “Lots of the vehicles on display have been lovingly restored and will reflect how transport has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century. The fascinating power of steam has a great deal of focus at this event and a range of arena displays will provide entertainment for all members of the family with a vintage theme.”
Bayleaf, the Museum’s 16th century Wealden farmhouse, has been given a major interior uplift with the introduction of a new painted cloth decorating the upper end of the hall.
When Bayleaf was first furnished in the late 1980s it was provided with a woven wool and silk damask cloth to hang behind the table at the upper end of the hall which was copied from a surviving 16th century fragment. Over the years the cloth has faded and deteriorated and it has now reached a state where it cannot be repaired.
The Museum decided to replace it with a painted replica cloth made by Hastings-based designer, Melissa White, who specialises in hand-painted Elizabethan domestic interior decoration, including wall paintings and painted cloths.
The striking striped design alternates a pomegranate motif (in yellow) with rosettes in a diamond trellis. Using traditional techniques Melissa painted directly onto linen cloth (which has been prepared or ‘sized’ with rabbit-skin glue) using natural pigments, including yellow and red ochre, lamp black and whiting.
The Museum’s Historian, Danae Tankard, says: ‘this has been an exciting project to be involved with. We are all delighted with the results’.
One of the South East’s most popular agricultural shows for rare and traditional breeds of farm animals will again celebrate the diversity of farm livestock this summer. The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s 29th Rare and Traditional Breeds Show will be held on its beautiful downland site on Sunday 20 July.
Smallholders all over the region are playing a vital role in nurturing rare and traditional breeds of livestock. Several hundred cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry of numerous rare breeds are expected to take part in the show which celebrates the qualities of the rarest of farm animals. The event has a strong following, both from exhibitors and visitors, who value its friendly, traditional atmosphere, set against the backdrop of the Museum’s beautiful downland location.
The event boasts some magnificent rare breed animals including Dexter cattle (smallest of the European Cattle breeds), Oxford Sandy and Black pigs (one of the oldest British pig breeds) and Polworth sheep (a breed developed in Victoria, Australia, during 1880). Old time farm animal favourites with visitors include the Pygmy goats, not much more than one foot high, and friendly-faced Alpacas.
At the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 4 – 6 July
A wonderful opportunity to see the Museum’s six period gardens all carefully recreated to show the transition of gardens from early 16th century through to the late 19th century which would have been typical of the more humble farm houses and cottages they adjoin.
This event uniquely showcases each garden representing the period of the house as well as the social status of the householder. Herbs, vegetables and plants that would have met the needs of rural households over the centuries provide an informative and historical display. Interestingly, the earliest gardens were purely utilitarian; but moving forwards through the centuries and social levels some plants were grown for their aesthetic qualities: the very first beginnings of decorative planting and ornamental display.
Carlotta Holt, Museum Gardener, with her team of volunteer gardeners will be present in all the gardens talking about the work they do; she will be giving a daily talk and walk through some of the gardens. Carlotta comments: “Both myself and the Museum’s dedicated team of gardening volunteers, look forward to meeting visitors during the event. Having the opportunity to share our knowledge and passion for the period gardens at this lovely time of year, makes all our hard work worthwhile.”
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND AWARDS OVER £9000 TO WEALD & DOWNLAND OPEN AIR MUSEUM TO MARK FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY
The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum is delighted to be awarded funding of over £9,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to deliver their First World War Centenary events, which will run from 2 – 8 June 2014.
Awarded through HLF’s First World War then & now programme, the funding will be used to support week-long activities involving school groups culminating in a weekend event ‘Horses at War’.
Visitors will have the chance to understand how people living in the South Downs contributed to the war effort. There will be free activities for school groups, including recruitment and training of troops in Sussex (learning drills and filling sandbags) and the opportunity to find out about the effect of the war on food available in a recreated field kitchen both provided by Andy Robertshaw Battlefield Partnerships. There will be various displays across the site (e.g. from Singleton WI which was the first one to be founded in England in 1915) and demonstrations of charcoal-burning, hurdle making and forestry (including the Women’s Timber Corps), and visitors can discover how three of our buildings (home, church and smithy) were affected by the conflict.
SPRING HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITIES at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 26 – 30 May
Come and enjoy springtime and the great outdoors at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum this half term. From 26 – 30 May there will be a week of wonderful seasonal activities, with a focus on springtime in the South Downs. There will be a host of arts, crafts and games to enjoy, and even a chance to have a go at Victorian household tasks! Children of all ages can channel their excitement and energy into a range of hands on activities and outdoor trails, which are all located around the Museum’s 50 acre downland site. Wet weather will not spoil play as we have plenty of undercover areas.
NEWS RELEASE - News release issued from the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum dated 25 April 2014
Discover the Magic of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum at Night - 16 & 17 May
Following last year’s success, the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will be participating in the National Museums at Night event for a second year running.
The Museum will be opening its doors on Friday 16 May and Saturday 17 May, from 9.00pm – 11.00pm for booked visitors. The event takes the form of a guided walk through the Museum stopping at some of the houses to discover what the hours of dusk and darkness meant to the people who lived there in the past. Discover who would be out after dark, what they would be doing and how they lit their homes, kept warm and made their tea.
During the hours of dusk and darkness visitors can enjoy a summer evening at the Museum’s stunning location which is situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Each house will have crackling open fires and will be authentically illuminated. If it is a clear night visitors will be treated to a glorious red sunset and some wonderful wildlife including owls and bats. Hot drinks will be served at the end of the evening.
NEWS RELEASE - issued from the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum dated 10 April 2014.
High resolution images available on request.
A Double Treat for Visitors at the Food & Spring Countryside Show - Sun 4 & BH Mon 5 May
This year’s Food & Spring Countryside Show at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will boast two special guest appearances; celebrity cook, writer and broadcaster, Antonio Carluccio, and celebrity cook and writer Rosemary Moon.
The Museum is delighted to welcome Antonio Carluccio, who will give a talk in the Southern Cooperative Cookery Theatre at 1.30pm on Sunday 4 May, followed by questions and answers. Antonio will also be signing copies of his new cookbook ‘Pasta’. Rosemary Moon will be visiting for the day on Monday 5 May having attended the very first food event at the Museum 25 years ago. She will be giving fascinating cookery demonstrations with local restaurateur, Giles Thompson, and offering tastings of local produce. Rosemary will also be signing her popular new book “A Feast of West Sussex.”
Visitors can savour over 80 local food, craft and trade stands including dozens of food and drink producers from the region, plus seasonal rural demonstrations and local crafts. As well as the opportunity to browse and buy, there will be a number of talks and cooking demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre.
Richard Pailthorpe, Director of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, says: “The Food Fair has been a fixture in the Museum’s calendar for a quarter of a century and we are pioneers in helping to promote local food and drink producers. The event remains as popular as ever and we are thrilled to have Antonio Carluccio and Rosemary Moon, who coincidentally was also an exhibitor at our very first Food Fair event.”
LOCAL SCHOOLS HELP PRESERVE MUSEUM’S TRADITIONAL ROOTS
The Wildflower Meadows at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
An area of downland at the Museum is being restored as a wildflower meadow and will be planted with plant plugs by two local schools, The March C of E Primary School and West Dean C of E Primary School, on the 21 March. Richard Pailthorpe, Director of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, says: “This is very much a ‘hands-on’ activity to focus the importance of nurturing and protecting our environmental heritage and ecosystem to a future generation.”
The environment plays an important part of Museum life at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. Six historic gardens are managed in a traditional way and fertilised using dung and compost produced on site. Wildflower meadows are managed for bio-diversity and the habitat supports bees, birds, mammals, butterflies and other invertebrate species.
The Museum has teamed up with the Weald Meadows Partnership, the South Downs National Park Authority and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew on this downland restoration project on the north-facing bank which lies between two traditional buildings on the Museum site. “Downland” can be defined as thin soils over chalk, with a high diversity of species. It is a landscape that has been created over generations through grazing and mowing, which is how we continue to manage it today to produce a crop of hay for our animal feed and grazing for our sheep.
A new door opens at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
The re-erected Tindalls Cottage opens to the public on July 24th 2013
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Singleton, near Chichester celebrates the completion of the Museum’s latest exhibit, the re-erected early 18th century Tindalls Cottage, at 3pm on Wednesday 24th July. The project, which began in 2012, has seen the Museum’s expertise in traditional materials and skills used in the painstaking re-erection of the cottage that was rescued from the site of the Bewl Water Reservoir, near Ticehurst, East Sussex in 1974.
Tindalls Cottage will be opened by David Martin MIFA, IHBC, FSA, who was part of the Robertsbridge District Archeological Society team that dismantled Tindalls Cottage almost 40 years ago. “Tindalls will always have great meaning to me. I was a student at the time working on an excavation at Hawksden at the time when it became obvious that Tindalls Cottage had to be moved quickly and at no cost to the local authority. With the encouragement of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s founder Roy Armstrong my team of excavation volunteers set about dismantling the cottage and loading it onto a lorry provided by Roy.
“In addition to igniting a passion for old buildings which has never left me, the dismantling of Tindalls was also where I met my wife Barbara. The cottage has great professional and personal meaning for me and I am very honoured to have been asked by Richard Pailthorpe, the Museum’s Director, to officially open it to the public on the 24th July.”
The Historic Clothing Project, established in 2007, is a unique and innovative investigation into the construction and production of lower status clothing across a broad chronological period. The aim of the project is to produce a comprehensive stock of replica historic clothing covering a range of periods to clothe those working in our exhibit buildings.
The clothing is produced on site by a team of 30 volunteers who meet once a month under the supervision of the Museum’s Domestic Life Interpreter, Lesley Parker, and historic clothing consultant, Barbara Painter.
Weald & Downland Open Air Museum – The Gateway Project
A Sustainable Future Guaranteed With Heritage Lottery Fund Support
The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton near Chichester has received initial support for a £4 million bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a major development project with the aim of securing the future of the Museum. The Gateway project includes the building of a new visitor centre and refectory together with improved interpretation and navigation across the site. The project also builds on the Museum’s already outstanding educational offering.
In this first phase of HLF funding £250,000 has been awarded to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum so that it can develop a full set of detailed plans before applying for the full, multi-million pound grant in 2014.
“It is a great tribute to the importance of the Museum collection that we will receive this national grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund” says Paul Rigg, the Museum’s Chair of Trustees. “The funds will be used to transform the visitor experience at all levels while preserving those features that all our friends and visitors have found so special over the past 40 years. Our aim is to provide better access to the range of training, education, specialist and leisure facilities that our unique and beautiful site and collection of buildings and artefacts provides.”
Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s Forward Plan 2012 – 2016
The Museum's Forward Plan is the culmination of a period of research, review and consultation.
The Museum has crossed a number of thresholds since the last Plan was produced, not least the completion in 2010 of 40 years since first opening to the public. That mile stone was celebrated in a number of ways, with a Royal visit, a series of events for our Museum community and for the public at large, a fund raising Ruby Ball, and the publication of a book entitled ‘Building History’ charting the remarkable story of the Museum from its initial conception to the present day.