Weald & Downland Blog

Chainsaw sculptor adds myth and magic to new children’s play area

Visitors to the Museum can currently see (and hear) Rob Beckinsale, chainsaw sculptor, working in the woods near our Downland Gridshell Building. Rob is creating a series of sculptures from a felled tree as part of our new children’s play area, which will open this summer. Speaking about the project, Rob said: “I was invited... (read more)

A Pair of Percheron!

Heavy horses Olwyn and Ollie have arrived and visitors are in for a real treat when they visit the stables. New arrivals Olwyn and Ollie, a delightful pair of Percheron horses, arrived on Friday 24th March. They join the Museum’s team of working heavy horses, which also includes Shires Mac and Major. Olwyn and Ollie... (read more)

The First Rose

Spring has arrived at the Museum with the blooming of the primroses. In the Museum’s coppice, the pastel yellow rosettes of flowers are set off against the rustic gold of the hazel roods and steel grey of the hornbeam. These plants emerge unobtrusively every year beneath the canopy but only burst into bloom when the... (read more)

Music in the past – drama in a quiet world

Jez Smith plays a key role in delivering living history at the Museum, especially in the field of historical music. Here he describes its importance to the people who lived in and around our building exhibits. “The auditory aspect of the past is often overlooked in socio-historical interpretation, but at its broadest it includes all... (read more)

Matthew Richardson of ABIR Architects on the Gateway Buildings

The Museum’s stunning new visitor centre is finally nearing completion and an Easter opening! It has been a long journey, some 15 years since it was first proposed after the opening of the Downland Gridshell. We have been tracking its progress in the magazine and many of you have contributed financially helping us to meet... (read more)

Buzz of activity in our historic gardens

Whatever the season there is always a buzz of activity across the six historic gardens at the Museum, all adding to our presentation of living history. As all gardeners know, seasonal tasks must be attended to – regardless of the weather conditions. At the Museum we strive to have all the appropriate plants at their... (read more)

Digitising over 80,000 slides

Hannah Keen joined the Museum in February 2016 as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund-supported Gateway Project, to undertake a fixed-term, year-long traineeship in the Collections team. So what has she been getting up to? “Over the past year I have been working with the Collections team on a number of different projects, but the... (read more)

Official opening of Volunteers Hub building

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Volunteers’ Hub building. This is a key new space that offers our 400 volunteers a base at the Museum, from which they can be welcomed each day, sign-in, update their rota availability at their dedicated PC and have meetings with the Volunteer Coordinator in privacy.... (read more)

Gateway Project Update

We are now entering the final phases of our Gateway Project and the next two months will see completion of our £5.6 million visitor centre, which we plan to open in May 2017. The scaffolding has just been removed and we can now get a really good feel for the buildings. A number of works... (read more)

Yakisugi Charring Event January 2017

Japanese Burnt Wood and Tea Houses On the 24th January 2017 the Museum welcomed groups from Kingston University and the Barbican Centre to explore two fascinating Japanese customs: Yakisugi and Chashitsu. For this we were delighted to welcome architectural historian and contemporary Japanese architect Professor Terunobu Fujimori. Assisted by architectural students from Kingston University, Professor... (read more)