Just before Christmas we were invited to the Chiltern Open Air Museum for a family day of fun. I was keen for the children to appreciate and experience how the locals in bygone years had celebrated Christmas. In some ways the modern world is becoming way too materialistic and I was keen for the children to see another way of life, a life where people had fewer possessions, smaller houses. Although people had less, things were calmer with no TV, no computers, no GAMING, just radio and chatter and song! I was keen for the kids to be reminded and learn to appreciate what they do have.
I know Christmas has passed, but the place really struck a chord with us that day and it’s not long until the museum re-opens for its school visits from 24 February and to the public at the end of March!
So back to December…
It was a chilly and damp Sunday afternoon, a day that’s best spent tucked inside warming yourself by an open fire, drinking hot chocolate and eating freshly baked cake. Instead we spent it at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, the kids sipping on hot chocolate and the adults sipping warm apple cider, listening to the local volunteers singing carols and tunes from bygone years.
There were numerous workshops running throughout the day, each marked on the map for easy reference, so we could leisurely wander down and take part with whatever workshop we wished.
Always loving any craft project, we started by learning how they made decorations out of pine cones with the clever use of ribbon and glitter.
Safeguarding these treasures the kids had made, they were then determined to show their father the little candle workshop they’d attended last summer and to make a new bees wax candle out of flat sheets to take home for the mantel piece.
With crafts under our belts, we also observed in the little prefab houses that paper chains were often made with chopped up strips of old magazines, strung up in their sparse homes with string
Unfortunately we just missed the last demonstration of how they baked and decorated simple yet delicious biscuits with pumpkin seeds and nuts to make them look bright and festive. Our spirits, however, were lifted with the smell of freshly baked biscuits that still lingered in Leagreave cottage!
As darkness fell, we then ran over for the last lantern show, a slide show of “Goldilocks and the 3 bears” to entertain the family. Imagine a kind of bunker, with large white sheets draped across one wall, providing the “screen” for the show. Families and children all huddled together on small wooden benches, facing the screen, ready for the final viewing, all comfortable and happy watching. A fire heater had been lit to provide some warmth. The slides were being changed by an elderly gentleman and a dear lady reading out loud the story we all know so well.
This was a special day laid on to close the year’s celebrations at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. For more information, do check with the website as it will be open again soon on 29 March 2014. With the run of the Bank Holidays, there will be lots of opportunities for the family to take part in the many activities outdoors. They also run school visits that are closely linked to some of the curriculum topics taught in school.
The highlight of the day for the children was playing with the marble pin ball game, that was in the 1940’s home. You can just see it to the bottom right of the photo, to the right of the bed…
They still talk about making one, and I am sure we will. So do check back…
The Lunchbox Lady x
PS A belated happy New Year to you all and sorry for the silence! x
Disclaimer: a family ticket was provided for the purposes of the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.