Weald & Downland Blog

Global Master Thatchers Gather at our Granary

On Tuesday 19 September 2017 our Littlehampton granary became the centre of attention for a huge group of thatchers – around 90 in total – from around the world. They were attending an international conference, organised by the National Society of Master Thatchers, here at the Museum. Delegates from Germany, Holland, Japan, Sweden, South Africa... (read more)

Meet Madaleine, one of our Tudor cooks

Fond memories of bringing her children to the Weald & Downland inspired Madaleine Owens to become a volunteer in 2015, but it was her passion for cooking that soon led Madaleine to the Winkhurst Tudor kitchen. Her enthusiasm for the role is infectious: “There’s always something to do in Winkhurst”, she says, “even in our... (read more)

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

In June, visitors to the Museum could see (and hear) Rob Beckinsale, chainsaw sculptor, working in the woods near our Downland Gridshell Building. Rob has created 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... (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)