Tony Eden, along with his wife, Anne, has been volunteering at the Weald & Downland Living Museum for just over 10 years, following their decision to retire from teaching. Tony enjoys working outside and the wide variety of activities he can take part in as a volunteer.
Tony Eden …
When my wife and I retired, we knew that we were keen to volunteer but felt that we needed something that was going to keep us interested and excited. We also knew we didn’t want to be couped up in one place doing one thing, so having spent years visiting the Weald & Downland Living Museum, we felt it would be a great place to apply to and see if we were able to give some of our time back.
Something I’ve found interesting since I began volunteering is that when I learnt history at school, I found it so dull. It was taught in a way that meant you read a chapter of a book then answered questions on it. Now that I’m experiencing history through the Museum, I’ve realized I have a whole new love for the subject and find the exploration and investigation fascinating.
My time is split between completing manual tasks around the site, which I really enjoy, and stewarding. Both activities are great, and spending time with visitors and other members of the Museum’s community is incredibly rewarding. It’s obviously a sanctuary for a lot of people. It’s an uplifting space, and a joy to just be here every day. I enjoy every aspect of it.
These days, there’s rarely a quiet day at the site, but I make sure I make the most of the peaceful days as well as the busier ones.
One particular time I recall from my years volunteering was when we first acquired the bakehouse. I think it was either the first or second day I was working with Steve and John. We were baking bread for the first time and the results were questionable. We were getting loaves like cannonballs, absolutely black on the outside and soaking wet in the middle. It was a huge learning experience.
To find out more about volunteering at the Weald & Downland Living Museum click here.