On 5 September 2021, the Weald & Downland Living Museum turned 51. As we approached our anniversary weekend, we decided to take a look back over the last 5 decades and mention some of the key events that have taken place at the Weald & Downland Living Museum over the past 51 years!
Let’s take a look back at some of the key events from the 2000’s:
- Work begins on the creation of the £1.3 million Downland Gridshell, a unique modern structure designed by architect Edward Cullinan, to provide a new building conservation workshop and artefact collections store, complementing the historic buildings. The project is supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund (now National Heritage Lottery Fund) grant.
- Chris Zeuner OBE, MA dies at the age of 55 after leading the Museum’s formative years of development. Richard Harris becomes the new Director.
- The Designation Challenge Fund supports the Winkhurst Tudor kitchen and Pendean farmhouse research and furnishing projects, and a conservation and access programme for the Museum’s artefact collections.
- The Museum welcomes its five millionth visitor in September, 35 years after opening.
- A Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Reading enables Dr Danae Tankard to research the social and economic background to the Museum’s main exhibits.
- The Museum marks its 40th anniversary with the publication of Building History – Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 1970-2010 – the first forty years (ed. Diana Zeuner), a new edition of the guidebook, a conference entitled ‘Building Conservation Comes of Age’, and a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales, his second to the Museum.
On the anniversary weekend of the opening of the Museum, we spent the weekend focusing on the buildings at the heart of the Museum collection – their construction methods, building forms, and conservation. This weekend also paid tribute to Roger Champion (1937-2021), Museum Master Carpenter.