Huge £250,000 boost for West Sussex museum

The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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A museum showcasing historic buildings has scooped £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton, north of Chichester, has been awarded money for a new restaurant, visitors’ centre and learning pavilion.

The plans also involve moving one of the museum’s medieval houses.

The museum, which covers 50 acres and is a registered charity, attracts thousands of visitors every year from across the south.

Richard Pailthorpe, museum director, said the project was about establishing a strong relationship with the South Downs National Park Authority, attracting new audiences, and developing community participation.

He said: ‘We want to improve the way we tell the history of our buildings and the stories of the people that lived in them even better than we do now.

‘It is vitally important we address the sustainability of the museum now to safeguard its future, and that we ensure the museum retains its national reputation as a centre for excellence in the heritage sector.’

Paul Rigg, chairman of trustees, said the grant was ‘a great tribute to the importance of the collection’.