Weald & Downland Blog

Wassailing Day – Saturday 18 January 2020

Visitors to the Weald & Downland Living Museum on Saturday 18 January can also find out about wassailing that day. This is one element of the Stories weekend, of our first Historic Life Weekend for 2020. About Wassailing The word ‘Wassail’ comes from the Saxon, ‘Waes Hael’, which means ‘Good Health’. It was a toast... (read more)

Calling all collectors! People’s Show 2020

As part of the Weald & Downland Living Museum’s 50th Anniversary we will be holding a ‘People’s Show’ from 13 February until 11 May 2020. At the Museum we have around 16,500 items in our collection dealing with rural life and building activities, but we also know that some of you have wonderful collections too... (read more)

Square Rule Framing

A response to Chalara ash dieback by Joe Thompson of Sussex Oak and Iron Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) one of the most abundant of our native hardwoods and often known as an “aristocrat” of the tree world as it is the last to come (into leaf) and the first to leave; is currently suffering from... (read more)

Music and song at the museum

Jez Smith, Historic Life Interpreter, describes his historic music research: My interest is not only in the music and the songs themselves, but most importantly, their social context in which they were written and performed. The study of this music can give another dimension to our understanding of how people lived in the past. Music... (read more)

Blacksmith creates latch for new dairy

Volunteer blacksmith, Nick Wedlock (pictured right), recounts a recent job for the Weald & Downlands Living Museum’s new dairy building: “I was recently asked if it might be possible for me to make a new thumb latch for the dairy building that is being re-erected on the Museum site. It was to be based on... (read more)

A charcoal burn at the Museum

As part of the Historic Life weekend: Wood Craft and Uses we will have a charcoal burn at the Museum. The process starts well in advance of the weekend, with wood being felled and sorted for the burn and scything of grass to top the clamp. Led by Rural Life Interpreter, Jon Roberts, a small... (read more)

Three hundred teeth?

Blood suckers. Parasites. Ten stomachs. Thirty two brains. Three sets of jaws. Three hundred teeth… Hard to like based on those features? Yet those very features have led to an important role in the history of medicine. It continues today in the recovery process after plastic surgery and in the dispersal of blood clots. The... (read more)

The Natural World

The Natural World is the theme underpinning our programming from May to the end of the summer season. We’re exploring this topic from all angles. This includes creative activities in half-term, to the bee-related products in the shop, and our talks series. Expert speakers have included Simon Thurley on how we could better manage natural... (read more)

Retirement of Major

One of our Shire Horses, Major, is moving from an active phase of his life working around the Museum to retirement. At 18 years old, there have been some signs that Major is slowing down and problems with one hoof have meant regular consultation with our vet has been required. Although his condition in the... (read more)

Herbarium Exhibition Now Open

The next display in the Museum’s Michael Burton gallery, in Longport farmhouse opened on Friday, 10 May, looking at the Herbarium record of plants and background of the historic gardens here. This wonderful exhibition wouldn’t have been brought to life without the hard work and dedication of our Head Gardener Carlotta, Museum Curator Julian Bell,... (read more)