Come and experience local heritage across the South East. The Rural Life Living Museum is a countryside museum featuring exhibits from 1750 – 1960.

Suggested areas of learning:

  • Local History
  • Changes within Living Memory
  • Houses and Homes
  • Victorian Life
  • Rural Crafts and Trades
  • World War II
  • Transport

Alternatively, a visit may be tailored to your specific needs, just discuss your ideas with the Learning and Community Engagement Officer.

Workshops and Demonstrations for Key Stages I & II

Traditional Farming Through the Ages

The work of a typical farmer’s boy during the farming year is explained through an interactive talk. It provides plenty of opportunity to handle artefacts and discover how they were used and learn about food production.

Country Childhood: Choose From 1800-1950

How did the country child live? Find out about their hardships and health. Discover a way of life very different from ours today. The workshop includes “hands on” experience and role play.

Bygone School: Choose From 1850-1950

Attend a lesson taught by a strict school teacher, using slates, pen and ink and other items as appropriate. This session takes place in the period schoolroom.

Experience Monday Washday

Join in with a practical session that involves washing with old fashioned equipment, such as carbolic soap, tin baths and wash boards. Fetch water from the pump and do your own washing as a small group activity.

Housework Before Electricity

Housework has changed dramatically. Discover the jobs that were done and what equipment was used. This workshop uses a collection of artefacts and provides the opportunity to “have a go”.

The Wheelwright: A Local Craftsman

Listen to the wheelwright and learn how a wheel is made. Finish the workshop by working together to make a large waggon wheel.

Up, Up and Away: Pulleys and Levers

Investigate how levers, ropes and pulleys were used to move loads.

How We Travelled

Learn about the development of transport, from cart to car and cycle. The session includes a guided walk to study the museum’s vehicles. Maybe follow the workshop with a sketching activity?

Home Guard

In World War II the Home Guard contributed to home defence. Find out what they did, go inside a Morrison shelter and have a go with the stirrup pump.

A Blacksmith at Work

Visit the museum forge and watch a demonstration. Find out about the work of the Village Blacksmith and discover the skills he needs. (Limited Availability)

Make Do and Mend

This workshop tells of shortages during WWII and how people overcame these difficulties by making and mending. There is plenty of opportunity for taking part and joining in.

Visit Information

General Information
  • Schools may book a visit on any day of the week.
  • Only one school will be booked at the museum on any one day.
  • A museum volunteer will “meet and greet” each group and be on hand to assist.
  • Visiting schools will have a designated indoor area to leave bags (not valuables) etc. This may be used for lunch if needed — otherwise there are plenty of outdoor picnic areas.
  • The museum has ample parking.
  • £8.00 per child, 1:1s and accompanying adults within ratio are free (KS1 1:5, KS2 1:10). Adults outside ratio will be charged the normal adult admission entry price of £11.25.
  • Workshops & demonstrations may be booked at the extra charge of £25 per workshop per class, subject to the availability of volunteers.
  • Loan Boxes – £20 per 4 week hire + £10 returnable deposit.
Teachers’ Responsibilities
  • To make the appropriate “Health and Safety” assessment before their visit. All workshops are fully risk assessed.
  • Sufficient adults should accompany the group, as recommended by local authority guidelines.
  • Teachers will be responsible for the behaviour and any special needs of their pupils.

For all enquiries or to make a booking, please email schools@rural-life.org.uk

Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Dressing Up Clothes and Period Toys

Dressing up clothes are available for use while at the museum. Please enquire at the time of booking. Period toys are available for use at playtimes and lunch time.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Loan Boxes

Loan boxes, to support the workshops, are available for use in school before, or after the visit, or as a “stand alone” resource. The charge is £20 for a three week period, plus a returnable deposit.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits


The museum shop stocks many pocket money items. It is available during normal opening hours; otherwise it may sometimes be opened by special arrangement. Alternatively groups may order “goodie bags” which are paid for in advance and collected on the day.

Virtual Learning Sessions

We now offer Virtual Learning Sessions for schools.  Each session is priced at £50 and we have a range of historical subjects available to cover.  For more information please contact us at schools@rural-life.org.uk.

Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Tailored Youth Group Sessions

‘The museum now offers tailored youth group sessions covering the subjects of Rural Life Vanishing Skills, Woodland Wonders, Bygone Days and Local History. Prices start at £8 per child with a minimum of 15 children to run a session. For more information please contact us at schools@rural-life.org.uk

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