The Museum keeps a variety of livestock as part of its mission to interpret the farming landscape of the Chilterns. You will find these animals around different parts of the Museum’s site throughout the year:
The Museum has its own long established flock of Pedigree Oxford Down sheep. This now rare breed of sheep was once very important in the Chilterns area and formed the backbone of many local farms. The Museum breeds these sheep to help conserve them as their number has declined to a little more than a thousand breeding ewes over the whole country. The flock is run in a traditional manner.
We have a small flock of beautiful Silver Grey Dorking chickens. This rare breed has ancestry dating back to at least the end of the Iron Age. The birds can usually be seen happily scratching around outside in one of our fields.
Clementine, a red cow, is half Shorthorn (a typical breed in Victorian times), a quarter Guernsey and a quarter Limousin she arrived a the Museum in 2013. A second calf came to the Museum in the summer of 2017 to keep Clementine company the farm team are still deciding upon her name.
You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Museum’s two farm cats as they go about their duties.
New to the museum in 2015 are our two rare breed Old English goats called Crystal and Beverly. They love eating the hedgerows and browsing the trees around the site.
Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire was founded by volunteers in 1976, and opened to the public in 1981. The Museum is a charity that rescues threatened historic buildings, which would otherwise be demolished, and rebuilds and preserves them in a traditional Chilterns landscape.
The Museum now has 37 rescued historic buildings that were the workplaces or homes of ordinary people. Every building on site was once somewhere else and either lived in or used by our Chilterns ancestors. By bringing the buildings together at the museum we have built a timeline that helps to tell the story of the Chilterns – a special landscape of rolling chalk hills, traditional crafts and time-honoured ways of life that continue to inspire today.
The Museum also has a working historic farm with livestock that includes sheep, goats, cows and chickens. There are a number of small gardens, cherry orchard and Dig for Victory allotment.
Traditional Chilterns skills and living history are demonstrated through an extensive events and award winning school education program.
The Museum is a popular filming venue and has been used for filming Midsomer Murders, Downton Abbey, Mary Queen of Scots, Grantchester, Horrible Histories and lots more.
The Museum is a charity and receives no government funding. All operating costs are funded via admission charges, Annual Pass sales, private hire, filming, school visits, tea room and catering sales and donations. The Museum is run by a small team of staff and an amazing team of volunteers, fueled by cake and a passion for the Museum and its work.