History & Future

The dedication of the lime tree seat on the Village Green in memory of long-standing volunteer Gladys Taaffe

Founded in 1976 to rescue threatened historic buildings

Chiltern Open Air Museum was founded in 1976 with the aim of rescuing threatened buildings.  More than thirty historic building have now been saved and rebuilt at the site, and there are more in store.  The Museum only accepts buildings that would otherwise be demolished.

The Museum’s collection focuses on vernacular buildings – the past houses and workplaces of ordinary people that are gradually disappearing from the landscape.  In the Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on London’s doorstep, the pressures of redevelopment are particularly great.  Chiltern Open Air Museum preserves a heritage that would otherwise have been lost.

The Museum is a registered charity and receives no regular grants towards its running costs or capital projects.  We are grateful for the fantastic support of over 200 volunteers and the Friends of the Museum Association.

Mission Statement:

Telling the story of the unique history of the Chilterns through buildings, landscapes and culture for the enjoyment, inspiration and learning of present and future communities.