The Museum has a comprehensive reference library relating to vernacular architecture, building conservation and rural crafts and skills – it is one of the leading archives in the country on these subjects.
From buildings to farming, gardening to social history, crafts and archaeology, plumbing, woodworking, brickwork, horses and oxen, local history, mills, churches… the list of topics is almost endless, so you can find a summary of the catalogue online, where the search facility can be used to find both article and book titles.
The Library is housed in the centre of the Museum’s site, on the ground floor of the hall from Crawley. It’s usually open on Monday mornings but very often on other days as well – and visitors are welcome to make an appointment to access the library by contacting the Museum on the details below.
Whether your interest is serious study or simply a casual enquiry, the library is available to anyone wanting to learn. Recent examples of topics of enquiry include:
- Moving historic buildings
- Southdown sheep
- Wells and pumps
- Design of a particular kind of bath tap
- Rare breeds
- European open-air museums
- Shepherds’ smocks and crooks
- Hangleton cottage at the Museum
- Lime and plaster (one from a plasterer for his website, the other from an MSc Building Conservation student)
- Gypsy caravans (from someone writing a novel)
Thinking of volunteering?
The library is staffed by two volunteers who would welcome some additional help.
If you have a few hours to spare and would like to join the team, tasks include: cataloguing new books, updating existing records, helping people with enquiries, preparing displays relevant to the Museum’s events and courses, checking through the magazines and journals for relevant articles and recording them in the catalogue, and talking to visitors.
Ideally, you will be happy to use the computerised catalogue and training will be provided.