INSPIRATIONAL museum boss Richard Pailthorpe has been named Sussex Heritage Person of the Year.
The award, honouring the director of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton, was made by the Sussex Heritage Trust.
Dr John Godfrey, chairman, who announced the award, said: “Richard has spent his entire life working in the rural, heritage and museum world and has devoted much of his own time to inspire and enthuse others to learn more about their local history and heritage.
“The museum which he leads is an exemplar in its field and a major visitor attraction in Sussex.”
Mr Pailthorpe has been working to bring the museum up to date and develop it as a modern heritage attraction.
Permission for a £5m ‘gateway’, which he described as the most important development for the museum’s viability and sustainability since its foundation, was recently unanimously approved by the South Downs National Park Authority.
Two clusters of buildings around an entry courtyard will be used to connect the story of rural living over the past 700 years with the 21st century.
Mr Pailthorpe said: “We now look forward to these plans becoming a reality and creating a better museum for everyone.”
The 40-acre museum site features traditional buildings in a rural landscape that tell the stories of the men, women and children who lived and worked in them over a 600-year period. There is a regular programme of domestic and craft demonstrations, including cooking, milling and blacksmithing.
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