JNA THATCHERS COMPLETES KLEINPLASIE RESTORATION
JNA THATCHERS was recently approached to rethatch the representation of an old farmer’s house at the Worcester Open Air Museum, Kleinplasie. Originally the project seemed straight forward – it would require a thatching process that we have done many times before… little did we know that it would not turn out to be that simple!
We visited Francois Fouche (manager of Kleinplasie) as well as Gabriel and Gwen Fagan (Gabriel Fagan Architects), to talk about the history of this museum, the renovation process and their involvement.
Gwen Fagan and Heloïse Naudé (curator) overseeing farmer workers preparing the grounds and garden for the museum.
Today, Kleinplasie includes two exhibition techniques: the first is demonstrating the history portrayed through live demonstrations such as the baking of bread in an outdoor brick oven and forging of metal by a blacksmith. Household traditions like the tramping of grapes for winemaking, roasting coffee beans, candle making and the milking of cows, are also demonstrated. The second technique is the exhibition of additional information in the exhibit hall, which was completed in 1988. Kleinplasie thus serves both an educational and conservational purpose.
When stopping at Kleinplasie, one can enjoy the demonstrations, donkey cart rides, playing with the animals, a museum shop and a restaurant, but this wasn’t always the case. During our visit at the Fagans, they revealed that the launch of the restaurant was a very controversial topic back in the day! Gwen and Gawie suggested opening a restaurant in order to attract visitors and lengthen their visits. At this stage, a restaurant at a museum was unheard of and Heloise did not welcome the idea at first. By the time the restaurant was opened, Kleinplasie was the first of its kind: a museum with a restaurant!
When it comes to heritage projects as such, authenticity is vital.
For us, projects like these, are always an honour. After all, the more we know about the past, the better we are prepared for the future.
If you would like us to be part of your next thatching project, Click here to contact us – historical or modern thatching, we do it all.