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The Weald & Downland Living Museum reveal plans to celebrate their 50th anniversary

This year marks 50 years since the Weald & Downland Living Museum first opened its doors and it is celebrating with an exciting series of events.


The Weald & Downland Living Museum opened in 1970 and was founded by Dr J.R Armstrong MBE. The aim of the museum is to preserve historical buildings and increase the awareness of traditional crafts, trades and industries.


To mark the 50th anniversary year, there are various events planned including a series of demonstrations and displays as part of a special Historic Life Weekend.

Taking place on September 5-6, the dates the museum officially opened to the public 50 years ago, there will be a showcase of all that is great about the museum and the traditional crafts, skills and architecture it works so hard to preserve. A number of expert speakers will also be on site to talk about the development of the museum.


Throughout September there will be more celebrations, including a virtual exhibition that gives an interesting overview of the museum and how it has changed over the past five decades. There will also be themed demonstrations and activities planned for each month until December.


A spokesman for the museum said: “Providing an interactive insight into our rural history, the museum offers a wonderful day out for visitors of all ages.


“From exploring the historic buildings as well as the six historic gardens to seeing traditional agricultural work, management of the woodland and historic life demonstrations. What’s more, there are self-led trails to discover, including the woodland sculpture trail, where visitors can enjoy the idyllic countryside setting of the museum. Farm animals such as working horses can also be found grazing in paddocks and carrying out traditional seasonal farming activities.


“Alternatively, visitors are welcome to simply soak up the tranquil atmosphere and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Pack your walking boots and head out for a scenic stroll with your dog or relax by the millpond and enjoy feeding the ducks before tucking into a picnic.


“However you choose to spend your time, the Weald & Downland Living Museum offers a welcome escape from our fast paced lives, with plenty of opportunity to find some peace and put the world on pause.”


Set in the surroundings of the South Downs National Park in Chichester, the museum is home to over 50 historic buildings, from as early as 950AD. Originally from all over South East England – Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire – each building has been carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt.


Across the 40-acre site, the museum shows extraordinary examples of early architecture, materials used in construction and tells the stories of those who lived and worked in rural South East England over 1,000 years ago. Among the award-winning collection of historic homes, shops and public buildings is a medieval farmstead, market hall, Victorian school, smithy and even a tin church.


To ensure social distancing restrictions can be maintained, only limited numbers are allowed on site each day so booking in advance is essential. All activities and demonstrations have been designed to ensure social distancing and government safety measures are adhered to at all times. Visit: to book and find further details.

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