Welcome to the Agricultural Museum at Brook

Tucked away below the North Downs, in the small village of Brook between Ashford and Wye, is a unique museum. The Grade I listed barn, Grade II listed oast house and associated buildings of the Agricultural Museum Brook, house an impressive collection of Kent related agricultural objects.

The Wye Rural Museum Trust, which owns and runs the museum, welcomes you to explore our site and learn more about our history, buildings, and collections.

As well as the usual opening hours, we offer tours throughout the year for both interested groups and schools by arrangement with the curator. Volunteers who would like to get involved with the museum are always welcome - go to How to Help and Support Us.


October 2021 Update

A big thank you to the museum's volunteers who welcomed visitors on successive weekends throughout the Summer. Many visitors commented on the extraordinary experience of entering the barn to find themselves immersed in a bygone age of horse-drawn wagons and farm equipment, whilst also commending the new and much-improved interpretative materials.

The 2021 season ended with a fascinating lecture given by Professor Catherine Richardson (see news item) followed by a wonderful Harvest Festival barbecue held jointly with the village and church of Brook; good use was made of the museum's new gazebos, purchased with funding from councillors Clair Bell and William Howard.

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NINTH ANNUAL NIGHTINGALE MEMORIAL LECTURE

Professor Catherine Richardson gave the Michael Nightingale Memorial Lecture on 28th September. A recording of the lecture can be watched here. Trustee Sheila Sweetinburgh wrote about the talk on her blog

"I was especially interested to hear what she had to say because I used to live not far from the Weald and Downland Museum, and it remains one of my favourite places. As she said, she has employed the idea of ‘practice research’ since her time as a doctoral student, and over the last two decades she has developed these ideas far more and in collaborative ways both with academics and museum curators. Even though this has not been exclusively in the southeast of England, involving among other organisations the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Weald and Downland Museum has perhaps offered the greatest opportunities because of its ethos of setting its buildings in a relatively tight time period. Thus, unlike some other national organisations, you don’t move from a Tudor parlour to a Stuart gallery to a Victorian kitchen, but rather stay in what might be called a Tudor setting. Furthermore, the houses and other buildings at the Museum would have been instantly recognisable to the yeoman farmers and their urban counterparts as the type of dwelling and workspaces they would have inhabited alongside their neighbours.

Again, perhaps not surprisingly, Catherine’s various research projects on the material culture of the ‘middling sort’ has centred on textiles, and the topic that she concentrated on last night was painted clothes. As she said, they often crop up in Kent 16th-century inventories but seldom are valued as worth much by appraisers. Rather, they are often said to be worn but nevertheless their widespread use suggests that they were a significant item within the lived experience of the household. Consequently, Catherine and her colleagues used the opportunity presented by the Museum wanting a new painted cloth for the high end of the hall at Bayleaf Farmstead to undertake some practical research for both the production and reception of such an item. Watching how the cloth was produced – the choice of design based on contemporary wall paintings, the make-up of the paints, the execution of the different brush strokes was also fascinating, but equally how the team reacted once it was in place. Thus, for example, the effect of seeing it by candlelight, the working out of the optimal distance from it to view it, the impact of seeing it from outside through the unglazed windows – all, while never totally able to recreate what Tudor people would have ‘seen’, still enabled Catherine to gain a much greater appreciation of the lived experience."

Contact icon - telephone    Contact

 

For group bookings or general enquiries, please contact:

 

The Hon. Curator, Brian Wimsett

01304 824969

BrianWimsett@hotmail.com

Location icon compass    Location

 

The Agricultural Museum Brook,
The Street,
Brook,
Ashford, Kent.
TN25 5PF

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opeing times, clock    Opening Times

 

Between the beginning of June to mid-September, the museum is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 14:00 to 17:00.


For further details, please see Opening Times and Prices