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Throughout the Green Ways from Yesterday Happy Museum project, we have worked closely with several different local groups and organisations. Without their input the event would not have been so exciting and varied, not to mention other aspects of the project too.

Change4Chalfont – a local Transition Town movement

Global Warming is Pants – a blog by Erica, who helps to run Change4Chalfont, including tips for being greener at home, in the community and globally

Workaid – a local charity tackling poverty by providing disadvantaged people with recycled tools to learn a skilled trade and earn a living, both in the UK and around the world

Little Chalfont Nature Park Action Group

Rickmansworth & District U3A and South Bucks U3A – part of the University of the Third Age, providing a range of self-managed learning opportunities for older people no longer in full-time employment

Local producers and crafters, including clockmaker David Rodgers, Orchard View Farm, Ten Mile Menu, Cherish Chocolates and Chalfont Chillies

1940s re-enactors, Harry & Edna, with the dance led by Fiona Harrison, “Voice in a Million”!



Thank You!

Fiona Harrison, 'A Voice in a Million', entertains the crowd.

Fiona Harrison, ‘A Voice in a Million’, entertains the crowd.

One of our blacksmiths, Derek, hard at work in the Museum forge.

One of our blacksmiths, Derek, hard at work in the Museum forge.

Having a go at 'Make Do and Mend' activities.

Having a go at ‘Make Do and Mend’ activities.

'Fashion on the Ration' and 'War on Waste' exhibitions from Harry and Edna

‘Fashion on the Ration’ and ‘War on Waste’ exhibitions from Harry and Edna.

Local charity Workaid collects and recycles tools for work-based projects in the UK and Africa.

Local charity Workaid collects and recycles tools for work-based projects in the UK and Africa.

Delicious local produce from Orchard View Farm.

Delicious local produce from Orchard View Farm.

A huge thank you to everyone who came and took part in ‘Go Green and Carry On: 1940s Ideas for Today’. It may have been incredibly cold and snowy, but we had a great time.

More bits and pieces to follow!


Time for a Bicycle Checkup?

Raleigh Bicycle AdvertDuring the ‘Go Green and Carry On’ weekend on the 23rd and 24th March, members of Change4Chalfont and local scout groups will be running a bicycle clinic at Chiltern Open Air Museum from midday to 2 pm. Anyone can bring their bike along, make the most of the ‘checkup’ service and find out a bit more about keeping their bike in top condition.

Cycling is not only a more environmentally friendly way of travelling, but great fun and a brilliant form of exercise as well (as this 1950s poster shows).

The Museum also has a collection of vintage bicycles, from the early 20th century through to a 1970s butcher’s bike. There will be a chance to see these and try one or two after they’ve visited the bicycle clinic – depending on the weather of course!


Love your Leftovers

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been collecting delicious recipes from volunteers, Friends and local groups that make the most of tasty leftovers. These will be collated and put into a downloadable format for everyone to enjoy, and hopefully try something new.

During this process, I’ve discovered a couple of websites that encourage us to consider food in different ways. Eat Seasonably includes a brilliantly bright and clear calendar, showing when particular fruits and vegetables are at their best (think fresh spring greens throughout March). Growing fruit and vegetables out of season requires higher levels of artificial light and heat, as well as more pesticides and fertilisers, so eating seasonably is also eating more sustainably.

Another website is Love Food Hate Waste, with lots of great tips on storing food, keeping leftovers and planning portions. It also has lots of inspiring recipes which can be easily frozen or use up food that might otherwise go be thrown away. Not only do these things help you to be more environmentally friendly, they also save time and money – what’s not to like?

While I can’t claim to be as ‘green’ as I could be, this project and these websites have definitely given me plenty of ‘food for thought’!


Yealming with the Young Volunteers

Young Volunteers Yealming

Young Volunteers Yealming

Last weekend, 10 Young Volunteers aged between 10 and 16 turned their hand to yealming, as part of an ongoing project to re-thatch the Museum’s Iron Age House. It was a cold and drizzly afternoon, but this didn’t dampen their enthusiasm.

Yealming is a traditional process in which longstraw is straightened and tidied, ready to be levelled and tied into compact bundles. These are more manageable when up on a roof and thatching.

As the Buildings Manager and volunteers couldn’t take part in the Young Volunteers’ session, they patiently taught me how to yealm so I could pass on this knowledge. It’s not the easiest of skills, especially when the yealms have to pass very exacting standards! However, the Young Volunteers did a fantastic job and surprised us all with the amount they yealmed in just a short space of time. A huge ‘thank you’ goes to them, and their efforts will soon be keeping many visitors and school groups warm and dry.


Happy Museum Symposium

Heartened by the promise of sunny weather, Grace and I are heading up to historic Chester today for a symposium run by our friends at the Happy Museums Project.  We’re looking forward to learning more about the exciting work being carried out by Daniel Fujiwara of the London School of Economics on social cost-benefit analysis (considering social impact on public policy), and from some of the leading lights of the transition town movement.  For those of you who may not have come across this movement, it’s based on the idea that if we as communities take constructive action to combat climate change, it might just be enough, just in time; if we wait for politicians to act, however, it may be ‘too little, too late’.  As we have the pleasure of working with our local transition town movement ‘Change4Chalfont’, this discussion will be particularly relevant not only to our project but to our wider community and we look forward to feeding back to you all!

Siân – Visitor Experience Manager

Top Tips for Today?

A key part of the Green Ways from Yesterday project is collecting ‘lost wisdom’ on cheaper, easier and more environmentally friendly methods of gardening and cleaning. A lot of volunteers, Friends of the Museum and community groups have shared some of their gems, and here is a list of a few of my favourites:

  • Use scrunched up newspaper to add a sparkle to cleaned windows.
  • Stuff newspaper into an old woolly pair of tights or socks, sew them closed and use as a duster.
  • If your hands are stained after gardening, use granulated sugar and lemon juice – over a sink, place a level teaspoon of sugar in one hand and then moisten with lemon juice. Rub in the mixture, then rinse for smooth and stain-free hands.
  • Pee on your compost heap! The urea accelerates the rotting down process and adds important nitrogen to the soil.

The Museum’s Young Volunteers are going to be turning some of these helpful hints into ‘How To’ videos (though I’m not sure they’ll be using the last one). It’s great to be able to show that these tips from ‘yesterday’ are still as useful and relevant today, so a big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. Keep the top tips coming!

Amersham Prefab Back Garden

Even old air raid shelters can be recycled into handy garden sheds.