Chiltern Open Air Museum, Green Ways from Yesterday, October 2012- March 2013
Making full use of a 44-acre site and a volunteer work force 200 strong, Chiltern Open Air Museum tapped into the building and agricultural skills of local elders and volunteers and captured valuable knowledge and experiences that has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable future.
The project culminated in a public festival weekend. The local community were invited to learn about sustainable practices from traditional ways of life in the past including blacksmithing, harvesting, 1940’s recycling and local building materials such as Chiltern Wytchert and Grumplings.
The project vision was for Chiltern Open Air Museum to become embedded at the heart of the community and the community to be embedded at the heart of the Museum. Green Ways from Yesterday aimed to capture sustainable skills and practices from the experiences of older people, and celebrate this contribution to a more sustainable future. We planned to value and invest in the happiness of volunteers, building new connections and relationships with other local organisations through the exciting new event, ‘Go Green’.
Project highlights included the development of new ways to consult local communities. The project created an excellent relationship with transition town, Change4Chalfont and the social enterprise Workaid and a community pass scheme was created which allowed groups to ‘own’ the museum.
Project challenges included the fact short-term funding made it hard to engage with many organisations or produce much as much as we would have liked. Also low visitor numbers made it hard to create an annual event.
During the commission the Museum won a local environmental award.