Further guidance as Weald & Downland Living Museum opens to members

The Weald & Downland Living Museum has clarified the details as it reopens to members this week.

Simon Wardell
Simon Wardell

Following last week’s announcement that the Weald & Downland Living Museum would be reopening exclusively to its members from June 22, the Museum received further guidance as to what was going to be possible.

As a result, buildings will remain closed.

Museum director Simon Wardell: “We have been working hard to make sure our site is safe and ready for welcoming our members and visitors. The team are organising various demonstrations to maintain positive visitor experiences as well as self-led walking trails across our spacious 40-acre site and grounds. Although we are unable to open the buildings, visitors will still be able to experience the history and stories through demonstrations featuring sight and sound whilst we adapt to the government guidelines.

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    “We are excited to be welcoming our members and visitors back over the coming weeks. Visitors will be able to again see our horses working and pigs grazing in the green spaces across the Museum site. Our friendly staff and volunteers will be on hand to inform members and visitors about our historic buildings collection and don’t forget to visit our working watermill which will be in operation, making flour which can be purchased from the Museum café and from our neighbours at West Dean Stores and Goodwood Farm Shop. Unfortunately access to the mill will not be permitted. However you will be able to see our millers working from a safe distance outside.

    “The Museum is fortunate to have a wonderful and skilful team of staff and volunteers who are very passionate about rural trades and crafts of the past and bringing them to life for visitors to watch and learn. Visitors will be able to enjoy seeing what is in season in the Museum’s six historic gardens and the results of the long dry period this spring. Enjoy listening to traditional music, seeing textile demonstrations or scything. Every year a popular seasonal demonstration at the Museum is traditional charcoal burn; and over the coming weeks visitors will be able to see how the wood is prepared for the burn, how the clamp is built and tended and the finished product. This takes place at the charcoal camp above the woodyard.

    “Visitors will also be able to enjoy self-led walking trails, including the Museum’s woodland sculpture trail. And of course, they haven’t forgotten about their youngest visitors, who can pick up a challenge card with an ‘I spy’ quiz upon entry. Whether you are five or 95, there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

    Simon added: “Coronavirus has impacted us all, it has slowed down the fast-paced world as we knew it and people are now looking for ways to improve their mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. The Weald & Downland Living Museum offers a haven for people looking to take a deep breath and reconnect with the natural world. Set in the South Downs National Park, the setting helps to generate a calming atmosphere and gives visitors a picture of the past through its collection of stunning historic architecture, providing a well needed day out to put the world on pause.

    “The Museum continues to monitor government guidance during this time and will adapt their opening arrangements to adhere to any new requirements, with plans to reopen their fascinating collection of buildings again, once permitted to do so. Please keep an eye on the Museum’s website and social media channels for any further updates.”

    The Museum reopens to the wider public from Monday, July 6.

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