New workshops about everyday life through the ages at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

PUBLISHED: 10:34 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:34 17 November 2014

Historic clothing materials

Historic clothing materials


The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum celebrates the success of new schools workshops – covering topics including farming, food and fashion in Anglo Saxon England.

Finger loop braiding, dressing up in historical outfits, playing a game of skill and chance in Saxon farming, and the ‘nine herbs charm’ – these are just a few of the new activities that schools groups are experiencing as part of the Museum’s historical life workshops.


New workshops

Since September the Museum has been delivering a new series of extra workshops, which respond to the latest changes in the national curriculum. For Key Stage 2 pupils, the Museum runs workshops that explore everyday life through the ages – clothing, food, health and medicine, a child’s life and farming. These sessions are also enjoyable and informative for groups who may not be following the curriculum.

New early years workshops have been carefully designed to give an overview of the buildings, animals and homes at the Museum, alongside time for pupils to get out and about to explore the downland site. There are Tudor workshops that cover several topics in the Key Stage 3 history curriculum and the Museum is always happy to offer bespoke tours for college groups on topics as diverse as carpentry, architecture, sustainability, farming, tourism, fashion and design.

The Museum has received very positive feedback from teachers:

‘The workshops were very good – these developed the children’s knowledge significantly’. ‘Our head teacher commented on how relevant and rewarding our days were… the 70 mile journey was well worth it!’ ‘The volunteers and staff were so helpful and kind’.

Workshops run for educational groups throughout the year and the schools team at the Museum are happy to help teachers to design the best possible day for their group. Please contact the Museum’s schools team at, call 01243 811459 or visit There are details of the Museum’s schools services under the ‘schools’ tab on the website.

Since its inception in 1970, the Museum has delivered a quality education programme to schools. Richard Pailthorpe, Museum Director, comments:

“A visit to the Museum is truly inspirational for children. It allows them to leave the classroom environment and experience history in a new light, where artefacts can be handled and our rural downland location – underpinning the importance of farming and the countryside.”

In 2008 the Museum was one of the first to be awarded the new Learning outside the Classroom Quality Badge as part of a new initiative to promote practical education outside the classroom. The Museum also boasts the Sandford Award for Heritage Learning.


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