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Course News

Message from the Director regarding temporary closure of the Museum (5 Nov – 2 Dec)


Following the recent Government announcement, the Weald & Downland Living Museum has chosen to close for this period of national lockdown to protect our community and support wider efforts to contain COVID-19.

Our intention is to honour the spirit of the lockdown by dissuading unnecessary travel and limiting contact between individuals for this 28-day period. We want to play our part in reducing the spread of the virus and to help keep people safe.

Every organisation is making the decision that is right for them, their staff, volunteers and visitors and there will be a range of approaches across our sector. I know that not having access to the Museum during this period will be upsetting for many. We have every intention of reopening in early December and look forward to celebrating the festive period with you all.

As we continue to monitor the situation and respond to Government advice and guidance, we will provide updates on our website and across our social media channels.

While we are closed, our staff will continue to monitor our collection and artefacts, protect our unique site and care for our animals.

Finally, on behalf of all of us at the Museum, thank you for your continued loyalty, support and understanding during this difficult time and for your support, messages and visits over the Summer period. We have loved seeing so many of you at the Museum and very much look forward to seeing you again soon. 

In the meantime, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram where we will be posting stories, videos and photos of our truly amazing museum.

Simon Wardell, Museum Director

Historical fiction short story competition 2020

Whilst the majority of us haven’t got anywhere to go, being in isolation can have its perks! We all have a wish list of personal accomplishments that we have added to over the years, but never actually get a chance to start/finish due to the rush of everyday (normal) life. Well, what better time than now to review your ‘wish list’ list and start ticking things off!

Perhaps you wanted to take up yoga, learn about a certain period of time in history, read a book or perhaps put your creative writing skills to the test and write a short story?

This is an exciting time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and start tapping away at a historical fiction short story! Why not take part this Spring/Summer, in the Museum’s writing challenge, and produce your own short story?

A strong and highly regarded line up of creative writers are on this year’s panel of judges, from Writer and encourager of writers, Greg Mosse, to The Book of Bera Trilogy – Sea Paths and Obsidian Author, Suzie Wilde and Group Arts Editor to Sussex Newspapers, Phil Hewitt, among others. The judges will be looking for high-quality stories in one of two categories:

  • Historical fiction short stories, which relate to an aspect of the collection (houses/artefacts) of the Weald & Downland Living Museum, and are set between the years 900AD and 1930AD
  • Historical fiction short stories, which are set anywhere between the years 900AD and 1930AD

Although this competition is for adults (18+), we also have an under 18’s competition too – click here for more information.

Due to these unprecedented times, we have waived the normal £7 entry fee. However, because the Weald & Downland Living Museum is a charity and a self-funded independent organisation, we are asking for donations to support us at this challenging time. If you would like to enter and/or support, please Text FICTION to 70085 to donate £7. Texts cost £7 plus one standard rate message. Alternatively, you can choose an amount you wish to donate by visiting: wealddown.co.uk/donate

Closing date for receipt of entries is 5pm on Friday, 4 September 2020.

Full terms and conditions can be found on the entry form below.

Competition judges:

  • Jane Borodale, Historical Fiction author and previous Writer-in-Residence at the Weald & Downland Living Museum
  • Katherine Clements, Author and Winner of the Museum’s 2012 Historical Fiction competition
  • Phil Hewitt, Author and Group Arts Editor, Sussex Newspapers
  • Greg Mosse, Writer and encourager of writers
  • Richard Pailthorpe, Author and previously Museum Director – Weald & Downland Living Museum
  • Suzie Wilde, is the author of The Book of Bera, published by Unbound/Penguin. It was one of the Guardian newspaper’s top 5 Fantasy books in 2017. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has taught both young people and adults all aspects of writing for over 30 years. Appearing at several literary festivals, Suzie has often run workshops and also judged competitions. Besides writing full time, she mentors other writers and presents podcasts for Petersfield Community Radio, including weekly Wilde Walks.

Download your entry form below:

Entry fee:

For 2020 we have waived the entry fee. It was previously £7.  Instead, we would appreciate it if you would consider making a donation to support the Museum at this challenging time. If you would like to support us, please Text FICTION to 70085 to donate £7. Texts costs £7 plus one standard rate message.
Alternatively, you can choose an amount you wish to donate by visiting: wealddown.co.uk/donate

We thank you for your support, and look forward to receiving your entry.