One of Chiltern’s most loved mu­se­ums reopens for the sum­mer on Satur­day and is invit­ing peo­ple to come along to a one-off ‘by do­na­tion’ day. Tom Her­bert finds out more about the ex­cit­ing events it has planned

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ME­DIEVAL joust­ing, Ro­man gla­di­a­tors, ri­fle­men from Welling­ton’s army... no, we haven’t stepped back in time – and you haven’t picked up the wrong pa­per. The Chiltern Open Air mu­seum re-opens on Satur­day and it has a list of events that run un­til Christ­mas, both his­toric and oth­er­wise, for ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity to get in­volved in.

The char­ity-run mu­seum is host­ing a spe­cial ‘By-Do­na­tion’ day when it does re-open on Satur­day where mu­seum ad­mis­sion is not set. In­stead it is invit­ing vis­i­tors to come along and ex­plore its his­toric build­ings, rang­ing from an iron age round house up to a 1940s pre-fab, in re­turn for a do­na­tion.

Dur­ing the open­ing event on Satur­day there will be his­toric bread bak­ing demon­stra­tions in 18th cen­tury Lea­grave Cottage by lo­cal vol­un­teer and Tu­dor cook Jenny Thomp­son.

Speak­ing about Satur­day’s event, Sian Ham­mer­ton-Fraser, vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence manager at the mu­seum, said: “It’s usu­ally re­ally busy and it’s a fan­tas­tic start to the sea­son.”

Sun­day will see a Chiltern War­rior Run, de­signed to raise funds to con­tinue the work of the mu­seum which costs over £900 a day to run. Over Easter Bank Hol­i­day Week­end vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to join in with some his­tor­i­cal cooking and dis­cover the ori­gins of Easter tra­di­tions, and dur­ing spring and sum­mer events in­clude a wed­ding open morn­ing, meet­ing new born lambs and dis­cov­er­ing what life was like in 15th cen­tury Eng­land.

Events are planned right up un­til De­cem­ber 6 when the sea­son fin­ishes with a Hal­loween spec­tac­u­lar and a tra­di­tional Chilterns Christ­mas.

Mrs Ham­mer­ton-Fraser said: “We’re in­cred­i­bly ex­cited about our events pro­gramme this year.

“We al­ways work re­ally hard to make sure we have got an ex­cit­ing pro­gramme planned for our vis­i­tors, rang­ing from fan­tas­tic his­tor­i­cal reen­act­ments to unique night­time events such as Mu­se­ums at Night, which is part of a nor­mal pro­gramme which aims to get peo­ple en­gag­ing with mu­se­ums in dif­fer­ent ways.”

She also said the mu­seum is ex­pect­ing a visit from a “real live uni­corn” as part of the En­chanted Mu­seum night and a “won­der­ful hal­loween spec­tac­u­lar which last year at­tracted over two thou­sand vis­i­tors”.

She added: “We think it’s re­ally im­por­tant that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties come and visit our mu­seum so we do try and make the mu­seum as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble.”

She added: “This is a re­ally spe­cial time for us at Chiltern Open Air Musuem and we can’t wait to open up our gates to vis­i­tors again.”

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