Weald & Downland Blog


On the weekend of 18-19 June we saw our 15th century medieval frame from Sole street start to be re-erected. This was a great achievement for the whole team and a spectacular event to watch for all who came. In this blog, we talk to our history associate, Danae Tankard, to learn more about the building... (read more)

What’s it like to be: Building Conservation Trainee – Richard Toogood

Building Conservation Trainee, Richard Toogood, reflects on his time working at the Museum. Richards’s 6-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, runs from January 2016 – July 2016. “I had wanted to be involved with the Museum since I visited when I was 17 – to become more involved with traditional crafts and working... (read more)

What’s it like to be: Building Conservation Trainee – Claire Vidler

Building Conservation Trainee, Claire Vidler, reflects on her time working at the Museum. Claire’s 6-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ran from January 2016 – June 2016. “The time I’ve spent at the Museum as a trainee has been hugely beneficial to me in a variety of ways. The primary benefit has been... (read more)

Collections team update

The collections team have been very busy over the winter and spring months upgrading the Museum’s woodyard. During the winter of 2014/15 the centrepiece of the yard, the working timber crane, sadly collapsed. Rot had found its way into a variety of the timbers including the end of the jib – where the steel cables... (read more)

What it’s like to be: Heritage Marketing Trainee

Heritage Marketing Trainee, George Grime, reflects on his time working at the Museum. George’s 6-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ran from from October 2016 – April 2016. “I applied for the marketing traineeship here at the Museum because it’s a unique environment; it is not only unique in what makes it a... (read more)

The Museum Collections: Treasures both Little & Large

The Museum’s collections hold some of the most fascinating artefacts, offering insight into centuries’ worth of working life for the people of the South East. This blog looks to showcase just a few, to shed light on the diversity of our collections. These artefacts, which although very different in size, fulfil much the same functions... (read more)

The Bagpipe in English Rural Communities

You may have seen Jez Smith, one of our Site Interpreters, playing the bagpipes on Mothering Sunday last week. With International Bagpipe Day this Thursday 10th March, we’ve taken a look back at the history of the instrument. Today, in the British Isles, we think of the bagpipe as an instrument associated strongly with the... (read more)

Raising the Sole Street frame: the process

Ahead of the re-erection of our medieval house from Sole Street on June 18-19, we took a behind the scenes look this week at the essential work to the timbers, performed by Museum Carpenter in Residence, Joe Thompson, and his team. Joe and his two building conservation trainees, Richard Toogood and Claire Vidler, have been painstakingly surveying and... (read more)

Brewing in Tindalls Cottage

This week we have a guest blog written by Sam Williams, a pewtersmith, who has been working with Marc Meltonville and another expert food historian from Historic Royal Palaces, on a personal project to trial brewing recipes from the 1700s. The Museum’s Tindalls Cottage exhibit was, of course, a perfect place for this activity and... (read more)

Fifty years ago our Museum began in earnest

Fifty years ago the inaugural meeting of the Committee for the Promotion of an Open Air Museum for the Weald and Downland was held at the University of Sussex. The 1966 event formalised the Museum’s foundation – last year we marked 50th anniversary of the birth of Roy Armstrong’s idea for a museum of the... (read more)