Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
Singleton
Chichester
West Sussex
PO18 0EU
England

Website

Website

www.wealddown.co.uk

E-mail

office@wealddown.co.uk

Telephone

01243 811363

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Weald and Downland Museum
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Wheelchair access icon

As seen on BBC TV’s Tudor Monastery Farm…

Our ancestors’ homes and the way they built them, their animals and the way they raised them, their crops and flowers and the way they grew them…at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum visitors discover how the people of south east England lived over the last 500 years. And it’s all set in 50 glorious acres of the South Downs National Park.

At the heart of the Museum’s collection are 50 historic homes, farms and workplaces that have been rescued and restored as far as possible to their original form. To demonstrate how the original occupants may have lived, many of the houses contain reproduction period furniture, plus the tools and utensils of everyday life. There is an operational 17th century watermill, and a working Tudor kitchen complete with costumed cook.

Children enjoy discovering the differences – and similarities – of our ancestors’ homes and workplaces compared to their own. They will love the open space, walking through the woods, meeting the traditional breed farm animals and watching the Shire horses.

The Museum keeps alive the skills and traditions of the countryside with demonstrations of countryside crafts and skills, and special events throughout the year.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

2014 Opening Times:-

From 2 Jan – 28 Feb open Wed, Sat and Sun only with the exception of half term week, 17 – 21 Feb, when the Museum is open daily.

From 1 March open daily until 22 Dec and daily from 29 Dec – 1 Jan.

Don’t miss the ‘Tudor Christmas’ on 26 Dec – 28 Dec.

Opening times: 10.30am – 6.00pm British Summer Time and 10.30am – 4.00pm rest of the year.

Admission charges

2014 ADMISSION PRICES 2014 £

Adult GA 11.90
Child GA 6.50
65+ GA 10.90
Family GA 33.50

Adult 10.70
Child 5.90
65+ 9.70
Family 30.40
Ch/Sc group 4.00
Ad group >64 10.20
Ad Group 65+ 9.20
Special (incl helper) 4.15

GA = including Gift Aid

Discounts

  • Museums Association

The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Over 45 buildings, illustrating the development of buildings in Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey and eastern Hampshire, have been reconstructed on the Museum's site. They include four medieval houses, seven later houses and cottages (including Tudor and Victorian), a medieval shop, agricultural buildings and craft and trade workshops. The Museum's buildings, together with the expertise gained in dismantling and reconstructing them, are essential for the study of the vernacular architecture in south-east England and of timber framed building. Each building has been carefully reconstructed to a particular period in its history and provides insights into aspects of working domestic life. The primary collection of buildings is supplemented by important collections of building parts, craft and building tools and agricultural equipment. The Museum offers an extensive programme of lifelong learning based on the collections. The Museum's new open-access conservation workshop and artefact store has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will provide a permanent base for training in historic building conservation.

Rescued from destruction, the buildings have been carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt to their original form and bring to life the homes, farmsteads and rural industries of the last 500 years. Wander through these exhibits at your leisure - a majestic timber framed farmhouse from Kent; a striking market hall from Hampshire; a Victorian school; a medieval shop; carpenters, plumbers and brickmakers workshops; barns; a granary and a tread wheel from the South Downs. Many of the interiors have been furnished, recreating the way the buildings were used by their owners centuries ago: seven historic gardens show the herbs, vegetables and flowers grown to meet the needs of rural households from medieval to Victorian times.

See bread, pottage and sweetmeats being prepared in the working Tudor kitchen, you may even be invited to sample the results! Pause at the working water mill where stone ground flour is produced daily, experience a recreated Tudor farm, enjoy a picnic by the millpond or a walk in the woods. Delight in the company of our rare and traditional breeds of farm livestock - working horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. See traditional farming in action and heavy horses at work. Demonstrators regularly show their skills and everyone you meet will be happy to talk about how people lived and worked. Discover the skills of the early carpenters, find out about traditional building techniques and learn how we help to conserve rural crafts.

Hens peck in the straw, woolly faced sheep chew the downland grass and Shire horses work in the fields. Enjoy the rhythm of the traditional countryside and unspoilt landscape. For a complete contrast visit the Downland Gridshell, the museum's workshop and store for supporting collections - in an amazing award-winning architectural tour de force, the first timber gridshell in Britain. Tours daily at 1.30pm. Children will enjoy the freedom to roam in safety and gain hands-on experience of the museums buildings, gardens and animals.

Collection details

Social History, Industry, Archives, Architecture, Agriculture

Key artists and exhibits

  • Gridshell
  • Designated Collection
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
photograph of two men making sussex trugs

An Introduction to Chair Making

  • 1 November 2014 9:30am-4:30pm *on now

The day will begin with a discussion on different seating constructions and designs. A short foray into the museum woods will focus on the sustainable management of woodlands for timber requirements and we will explore the artistic potential using natural form, shape and texture.

Using traditional tools and techniques students will complete an elegant stool to take home, as well as the experience and knowledge to make other pieces of furniture.

The hands-on day will provide a good base for those who wish to create individual designs and is ideal for developing further potential.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£75.00 per person to include tuition, teas and coffees. The Museum café will be open or you can bring a packed lunch.

Website

http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Traditional-Rural-Trades-and-Crafts/An-introduction-to-chair-making-Saturday-1-November-2014

photogrpah of pigs

Bringing Home the Bacon

  • 8 — 9 November 2014 10:30am-4pm

A fascinating insight into traditional pig rearing and slaughter, and the techniques used to preserve every part of the carcase to feed the family throughout the winter.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

Normal Museum admission charges apply: Adults £11.09, Children £6.50.

Christmas Market at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

  • 15 — 16 November 2014 10:30am-4pm

Browse over 130 trade stands in and around the Museum's historic buildings for local arts and crafts and unusual Christmas gifts. Plenty of seasonal food including hot chestnuts, plus meet the donkeys and listen to festive music.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Any age
  • Any age

Admission

Normal Museum admission applies.

photograph of wood carving tools

Traditional English Longbow

  • 21 November 2014 9:30am-5pm

There is a saying that ‘a great bow is nine tenths broken at full draw’, but by understanding the properties of timber and with skills, we can take timber to its limit (and return!) to produce an implement of incredible beauty and practicality.

Starting with a simple stave of laminated timber you will learn to shape a fully working bow based on the design of the great bow of the hundred years war.

Please wear sensible working clothes and sturdy footwear. You may wish to bring a notebook and pencil. Course runs Friday-Sunday 21-23 November.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£260.00 per person to include all materials and use of tools, and teas and coffees.

Website

http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Traditional-Rural-Trades-and-Crafts/Traditional-English-longbow-Friday-Sunday-21-23-November-2014

Tree Dressing at the Weald & Downland Museum

  • 7 December 2014 10:30am-6pm

A magical occasion for all the family, as part of National Tree week. Join in traditional songs and dances. bring a jam jar and turn it into a lantern, then join the procession illuminated by hundreds of lanterns and dress the trees as darkness falls.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Any age

Where

Weald & Downland Museum

Admission

Adults £11.90, over 65's £10.90, children £6.50, family £33.50 (2+3), under 4 years free.

Christmas and New Year's Opening

  • 29 December 2014 — 1 January 2015

The museum is open until New year's Day. Enjoy a stroll around our 50-acre site and admire buildings decorated in traditional seasonal style - the perfect way to gently work off any festive indulgences!

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Normal Museum admission prices apply.

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Building Materials - Getting to Grips

http://www.openairclassroom.org.uk/Workshops/workshop-getting%20to%20grips.htm

A hands-on gallery of building construction aimed at KS2 Science, Design and Technology.

How to obtain

Contact the Schools Service on 01243 811459 or email schoolbookings@wealddown.co.uk for more information.

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