The day threatened to be wet but a visit to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum had been planed for some time so, with suitable clothing packed, off we set. As it happened the weather held good all day allowing a fabulous visit to take place.
I will start, as usual, with a few clips taken from the official website http://www.wealddown.co.uk in order to provide a brief overview before the pictures.
“The Museum’s main exhibits are more than 50 historic buildings from south east England. Most were demolished to make way for development and others, having reached the end of their useful life, fell into disrepair and were offered to the Museum. They have been rescued and rebuilt, illustrating the development of building technology and style and with the knowledge gained through the process of dismantling, conservation and reconstruction the Museum has been recognised as a leader in the study and practise of building conservation. The 50-acre Museum site is situated in the Lavant Valley in part of West Dean Park and lies within the newly-created South Downs National Park.
The Museum explores the lives of the ordinary men and women whose working, rural lives were tied to the rhythms of the seasons. We term what we do as ‘interpretation’ because we can never fully recreate or re-enact the past but we strive to base our demonstrations and information on all available sources.
All houses are vernacular – the homes of peasants, labourers, farmers and tradesmen, and to tell the story of the people who built and lived in them we have furnished several of them as authentically as possible, using replica furniture and artefacts. Different methods are used to describe the lives of these people: sometimes we use display panels; occasionally audio-visual commentary and most buildings contain folders with explanatory information. But most important of all we have stewards in the houses who will talk with you about the history of the house and the lives of its former occupants. They would have been guided closely by the seasonal and ritual year and we do the same: demonstrating their traditional skills, practices and domestic lives as closely as possible, bound by the seasons as they were.”
With the introductions done sit back and be transported back in time :-
That’s it – only a glimpse of what you can find at this extraordinary venue. If you are in the area it is certainly well worth a visit.