Picture of Market Square

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 resources to meet housing demand and Isabella Tree on the Wilding project of the Knepp Estate, now a bestselling book.

Why does this matter to the Museum? It is because we know we appreciate what we understand. Our aims is to provide opportunities to find out more, formally or informally, as well as enjoy the environment here. For Dementia Action day last Monday, the market square display had fresh herbs, historic items from natural materials. Alongside this was a display of flint tools, the material of the nearby House from Walderton.

The Herbarium exhibition in the Michael Burton gallery, on until 26 June, offers the similar exploration of the natural world. Historic life weekends take this theme further, with the focus on medicine on 25 and 26 May and Midsummer and plantlore on 22 and 23 June. Also during the weekend focusing on Wood – craft and uses – on 15 and 16 June, we will have a charcoal burn. The burn shows woodlands as industrial areas, far remote from the recreational environments that they are for many of us today.

Museums look forwards, as well as backwards. Our Spring ‘Good Life’ event explored the need for sustainable solutions today. As do many of our adult courses in traditional rural trades and crafts. We, and other organisations such as the Heritage Crafts Association, want to keep alive traditional skills and see them used in the future.

In June the Wildlife Trusts encourage people to get outside and take part in #30DaysWild. Similarly, Mental Health Awareness week in May gave a timely reminder of the health benefits of being in green spaces. The Museum is a beautiful environment to do just that too, with different activities to inspire visitors this season.