Weald & Downland Blog

What’s it like to be: Collections Assistant – Hannah Keen

Collections Assistant Trainee, Hannah Keen, reflects on her first 6 months at the Museum. Hannah’s 12-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, runs from February 2016 – February 2017. “I was keen to apply for the traineeship because I saw it as a great opportunity to work with collections in a unique setting. Prior to... (read more)

Southdown Sheep Society 125th anniversary service of thanksgiving

As part of the Southdown Sheep Society’s 125th anniversary, a service of thanksgiving, attended by some 60 members and their families, was held in the tin tabernacle church from South Wonston at the Museum on Sunday 7 August 2016. The atmospheric  service was led by farmers Stephen and Paul Humphrey who farm at East Dean... (read more)

Diary of a charcoal burn

Museum woodsman, Jon Roberts, leads traditional earth-clamp charcoal burns each August in the Museum’s woodyard. It’s a labour-intensive job and involves staying up all night, as Jon reveals. Over the winter months, Jon coordinates a team who have cut our coppice for a number of different uses on the Museum site. This includes cutting, trimming... (read more)

English Scything day

On Sunday 31 July we held a day on English scything and related crafts. This was the first such day that we have held and and we were fortunate to have lovely weather. A team worked to mow the ‘Olympic meadow’ and rake it. This is the area just past Poplar Cottage, and the turf... (read more)

Gateway Project Update

Visitors to the Museum will have noticed the hoarding at our entrance, behind which our exciting new Gateway Project buildings are rising from the ground. This wonderful new cluster of buildings will provide a welcoming new visitor centre, cafe, shop and community space from spring 2017. Building contractors, Pilbeam Construction Ltd, began work in March... (read more)

Saxon building. Update 4: wattle and daub

Much of the work and excitement in the last few weeks has been around the ‘Raising of the Frame’ of our medieval house from Sole Street. However, work on the Saxon building has continued at a steady pace over the winter and spring. First the wattling of the walls took place with material that came... (read more)


Ahead of our Historic Gardens Day, we talk to Historic Gardens Trainee, Clea Venables who is on a 6-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, from April 2016 – September 2016. Q. “Why were you keen to do the traineeship here?”     A. “I saw this as a chance to gain an insight into how people spent... (read more)

Writer Residency Nature Blog – Suzanne Joinson

Introducing the Museum’s Writer in Residence, Suzanne Joinson, who is working with us until May 2017. This is Suzanne’s first blog, which we hope you enjoy! Suzanne attended one of our excellent evening talks, the Management of Sussex Wildlife, which was given by Richard Williamson. “What a pleasure to start my writer residency at the Museum by meeting... (read more)


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)