Latest News - Saffron Walden Museum (April 2020)

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Saffron Walden Museum Summer

Museum News for April

From Wednesday 18th March we closed to the public and all our museum events and activities were postponed, as a temporary precautionary measure against corona virus.

This month our E-News therefore takes a different focus.  Where before it was packed with stories about upcoming events and exhibitions, with recent events we will now be working behind the scenes and keeping in touch with you online through our social media, website and blogging.


New Blog!

In addition to this E-News update, our website and social media platforms, we've introduced a new blog for the Museum. 

It is being setup to share our learning resources more effectively whilst we are closed to the public.

What stories would you like us to share with you about our collections?

What resources could the museum provide that you might find helpful?  - local history, geography, science, maths, art....

nh store

Natural History Store

Thank you to all the volunteers and staff who have been involved behind the scenes in moving items between the natural sciences store and temporary storage, to enable vital maintenance work to be undertaken. 

The museum’s loft-space natural sciences store has been having some much-needed TLC. Gaps where the walls meet the floor and ceiling, and the joins between wall panels, are being filled in with silicone gel to help eliminate potential insect pests from the store.

Here you can see volunteers Richard and Peter with a great bustard, one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, which can weigh up to 18kg (40lb).


Behind the Scenes

We continue to work on:

  • Cataloguing collections
  • Collections care work
  • Renewing our collections loan agreements with other museums and cultural organisations
  • Updating our policies and procedures for our upcoming Art's Council assessed Museum Accreditation
  • Producing an updated Guide book for the Museum and our next Exhibitions and Events leaflet
  • Progressing our community and museum development projects, to ensure we have long term sustainability.
  • Researching and preparing for our future exhibitions.
  • Answering your collections enquiries and identifying mystery items (via email)
  • Preparing resources for future events and schools sessions for when we re-open

stick insects

Museum Stick Insects!

The giant stick insects which usually reside in our Natural History Discovery Centre have gone on a holiday to a new temporary home with Charlotte our Learning Officer, who is kindly taking care of them whilst the Museum is closed.


question marks

We Need YOU!

We are looking at ways to improve the museum as part of our on-going National Lottery Heritage Fund project to develop our audience and reach more people across the district.

Whether you visit regularly or have never been before, we want to know what you think.

For the opportunity to win a £50 shopping voucher please complete this questionnaire and give your feedback about the Museum - it will take around 8-10 minutes to complete.


Collecting Stories - CV Walden

Following an idea initially proposed by Saffron Walden TIC, we are planning to start a contemporary collecting project in conjunction with them and other Saffron Walden based organisations (including Saffron Walden Town Council and the Walden Local, with more organisations to be confirmed) to record people's memories of the Covid-19 outbreak and how it has affected day-to-day life in the district for future generations to understand.

If you are interested in compiling a diary now that we could archive at a later date that would be really beneficial.

We're also interested in audio and video clips, as well as artistic responses to the current situation, such as artwork, poetry and music, etc. If you are part of a community group or organisation - consider asking your members and contacts to take part in this project. 

These may be compiled to form an online or physical exhibition in due course.

Feel free to contact us about this project at and title your email "CV Walden"

oom april2

Object of the Month

The Museum’s ‘Object of the Month’ display provides an opportunity to explore interesting and unusual objects from our stores. 

This month’s Object of the Month has been selected by Jenny Oxley, Collections Officer (Human History). It is a pen and ink drawing with additions in chalk by Italian artist Gaspare Diziani (b.1689 d.1767) a biblical scene called the Adoration of the Shepherds

This item recently came back off loan from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  Diziani’s original oil on canvas painting of the same scene (as this was the preparatory drawing) dates to around 1755 and is housed in a private collection. Diziani was an Italian painter and draughtsman who trained and practised art in Belluno and Venice.  He was known for his speed of production and technical assurance.  He also worked as a scenery painter in Venetian theatres and travelled widely undertaking art commissions. 

To find out more check out the Object of the Month blog on our website. 

poster small

Postponed Exhibition: 

All Fired Up:

A history of fire-fighting in Essex was scheduled to run from 4th April-22nd July 2020

We've been working with Essex Fire Museum (based at Gray's Fire Station), part of Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, to deliver a joint exhibition about fire-fighting in Essex. 

We're disappointed that so close to installing the exhibition we couldn't go ahead, but thankfully all our efforts won't be in vain. The exhibition has now been re-scheduled for 2021. 

In the meantime, a taster of the exhibition research can be seen online on our website's exhibition pages.  


 Good News!

"Snapping the Stiletto" - Community Heritage project

Essex County Council's ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ - phase 2 project (of which will be part) has received a generous National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of over £200,000, to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

‘Snapping the Stiletto’ will work with Saffron Walden Museum, the Museum of Power, Maldon Museum in the Park and Southend Museums’ Service and a broad range of community partners. 

The Essex ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ project aims to showcase the lives and stories of working-class women and Essex’s LBGTQ+ and diverse communities from the last hundred years, to highlight unsung heroes and celebrate those who helped to campaign for equal rights.  The project will work with communities across Essex to collect accounts and build a narrative to look at how women’s lives have changed from the Representation of the People Act 1918 to the Equal Pay Act 1970 to culminate in exhibitions, events and activities in 2021.

new volunteer

Thank You!

We want to say a big thank you to all our staff, volunteers and supporters for responding quickly and calmly to the news that we needed to close our doors until further notice. 

We're adapting quickly to new ways of working in light of the current situation.

Thank you for staying on board with all our online and behind the scenes activities, whilst we are closed.

We'll be back soon....Stay safe...

The museum is closed for the time being, but remains active online...




Phone: 01799 510333