Latest News - Saffron Walden Museum (June 2021)

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Saffron Walden Museum Summer

Museum News for June

Volunteer Week Special  

volunteers welcome

Open to the Public!

After over a year we re-opened to the public on Thursday 20th May. 

Our opening times initially have been Thursday-Saturday 11-4.30pm and Sunday 2.30-4.30pm. 

Full covid precautions are in place.

You can book a ticket online to visit the museum via our website  


Object of the Month

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

June’s Objects of the Month are a selection of the 72,000 photographs taken by wildlife enthusiast Barry Kauffman-Wright throughout his life, selected by James Lumbard, one of our Natural History Officers. 

Barry’s first job was at Jersey Zoo, working under renowned naturalist and conservationist Gerald Durrell. Returning to the mainland, he joined Essex Police and was soon posted to Thaxted, where he took on duties as Wildlife Crime Officer for Uttlesford and Wildlife Liaison Coordinator for Essex. His photographs from all over the world are a modern treasure in the Museum’s collection, and featured in a recent talk given by James for Epping Forest District Festival of Culture. This photo is one of a set showing the sequence of a humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, breaching then disappearing beneath the waves off the coast of New Zealand.

To find out more you can check out the Object of the Month post on our website or learn more on your visit to the Museum. 


Learning & Outreach

Saffron Walden Museum is committed to continuing to share stories from its collections through its learning and outreach services.

Now that the national lockdown has been lifted we can now welcome schools or groups back to the Museum or offer outreach sessions.

Our loan boxes are also available for hire, £18 for 6 weeks, and will be quarantined in between hires to ensure they are Covid-19 secure.




Lost Language of Nature

We are passionate about caring for our collections and exploring new ways which we can talk about and share them. The Lost Language of Nature project aims to conserve a large number of specimens from our natural history collections whilst working the public to discover new narratives. Many of these items will be birds with strong connections to countries in Africa, either living there or migrating between Britain and Africa.

Each week we will be conserving a new group of specimens and share this process with you. We will also be reaching out to the public to discover the lost language and stories of these objects, from forgotten folk names, tales and songs to the lost and unrecorded names for these specimens in their country of origin.

We would encourage anyone interested in participating in the project to get in touch, either personally if you have a story to share with us, or any representatives from community groups who would like to get involved.

This project will make lasting changes to the information the museum holds on these items. The museum wants to  acknowledge the global origin of the collection and form lasting relationships with diverse communities who may have connections with the animals historically and culturally.

leanring hub2

Online Learning Hub

Our online learning hub is full of digital resources to help people explore the Museum’s learning and outreach services online.

The aim is to make the Museum’s wide-ranging collections available to support home learning and beyond, as well as providing blended learning for schools and informal groups of all ages from badged groups to the WEA and care homes.

The Learning Hub can be accessed from the Museum website’s homepage 

Initially three sessions will be available - Prehistory Hunters, Fantastic Fossils and Adaptions - with more being added each week.

good to go

We're Good to Go

The museum has been successful in applying for the Visit England, "We're Good to Go" scheme which is being run in partnership with the national tourist organisations to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for all sectors of the tourism industry, as well as reassurance to visitors that businesses have clear processes in place and are following industry and Government COVID-19 guidance on cleanliness and social distancing. 

qr codes

QR Code 

Object Labels

In order to comply with Covid guidelines we have removed all the hand-lists from all the display galleries.

These have been replaced with QR codes produced by Jenny Oxley (Collections Officer, Human History).  The codes can be scanned by visitors during their visit, so that they can view their own personal copy of the object labels for each display, rather than multiple people touching physical copies of the labels. 

qr code

Wildflower beds &

Wild About Walden online

The freshly sown wildflower mix along the museum frontage has sprouted strongly in the last month with a fresh sowing of a ‘bumble-bird’ mix. This seed mix will provide year-long food for insects and birds, with nectar, seeds and shelter to last the winter.

The new beds are outlined with reclaimed bricks from the museum site. Painted tiles show flowers and birds to look out for growing and feeding in the new beds, and QR codes link to the new Wild About Walden page on the Museum’s Learning hub, which will be updated throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for digital updates and new planting in the Museum grounds!  

sts project logo

Snapping the Stiletto Project:

LGBTQ+ Archive

Queer Reflections: revisiting our collections

This new online archive of LGBTQ+ relevant objects from Saffron Walden Museum and Southend Museums explores sexuality, gender, and identity. Jenny Oxley, Collections Officer (Human History) at Saffron Walden Museum, and Vittorio Ricchetti, Assistant Curator (Material Culture) at Southend Museums, with suggestions from their colleagues, have delved into their collections to highlight objects that have connections to LGBTQ+ histories. In doing so they have identified a range of items that demonstrate that non-binary gender identity, queer relationships, and fluidity in its many forms are represented in our museum collections.

We cannot define or label people or movements retrospectively, if queer histories are not identified and recorded at the time an object is collected that connection is at risk of being silenced. This project seeks to revisit areas of our collections where stories may have previously been overlooked or unexplored in order to hear from people living in Essex today. We have identified objects with different degrees of connections to LGBTQ+ history in order to begin a discussion.

We want you to submit your reactions and reflections to these objects, and research other objects in our collections. Help us collect your stories and document your experiences in order to preserve them for the future and celebrate them in the present. Is one of these objects significant to you and your experience? Do you have a story connected to it?

Get involved:

React to the objects by sending in comments for us to upload on the website

Share your stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ Essex

Research relevant objects from our collections

We will be adding new objects every month so don’t forget to check back.


CV Walden

We are continuing to collect people's experiences of the Covid-19 outbreak and how it has affected day-to-day life in the district over the past year, 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.

Contact Jenny Oxley, Collections Officer (Human History) about this project at and title your email "CV Walden"


Collections on Tour

We're pleased to announce that wampum items from our world cultures collections are again on touring loan, after the success of last year's loan out of them to Seacity in Southampton.

Wampum is a traditional shell bead of the Eastern Woodlands indigenous tribes in North America. It includes white shell beads hand fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled whelk shell and white and purple beads made from the quahog or Western North Atlantic hard-shelled clam.

We had another loan request from The Box in Plymouth who are curating the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition as well as a second exhibition, Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America, in association with Wampanoag partners in the US.

As part of this project they have secured funding from the Arts Council to commission a new wampum belt to be made. They are seeking to borrow our items containing wampum – a belt sash and two strings of beads. The request is the result of us having hosted researchers last year who were working on a project called "On the Wampum Trail," documenting the Wampum held in UK collections.  

The beads will be on display at The Box, Plymouth until July and then it is planned the exhibition will move on to the Guildhall in London. 

volunteers 4

Photo shoot

Celia Bartlett visited the museum in May to photograph the museum staff and volunteers working behind the scenes in the run up to re-opening.  A selection of the pictures can be seen on the museum's Instagram page. 


Shop Focus

We stock a full range of gifts in the Museum shop all year round, and there are always seasonal special offers and themed products linked to our collections..... 

Consider the museum for purchasing some original Father’s Day gifts. 

For example why not purchase one of our Annual Season Tickets as a ‘Father’s Day gift with a Conscience’ and actively contribute to Saffron Walden Museum’s future sustainability and success.  Just £8 for Adults and £4 for Concessions. 

past volunteers

Volunteer Week

Celebrating our Volunteers in National Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June)

Although we cannot gather at the Museum for our annual celebration and tea party, our thanks for and recognition of our volunteers continues unabated.

On behalf of all staff at Saffron Walden Museum, we would like to thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to the Museum. 

In recent weeks, many of our welcome volunteers have been busy returning to the museum for training on the new EPOS till system and card reader with June. 

volunteers 2
volunteers 4




Welcome volunteers Ursula and Pauline arrive to learn the new Covid procedures. 


Carolyn presented June with a ‘thank you’ gift for her help training the volunteers on the new till and Christine with a card for her Birthday. 




volunteers 2

We are delighted to announce that Liz and Natalie have joined ‘Team Saffron Walden Museum’ as our new ‘Welcome’ volunteers.

Here is Liz completing her induction training with June (in a Covid Safe way). 

Welcome Volunteers  provide a friendly greeting for visitors; sell tickets and merchandise; provide information about the museum and direct enquiries to members of staff.

Our collections volunteers are also beginning to return to their roles in the Museum in all the different sections - archaeology, natural sciences and human history.  A number of natural sciences volunteers for example help staff to monitor the 46 special roadside verges across Uttlesford.

Would you like to join our team?

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our team on a regular basis.  We would also be delighted to hear from volunteers who are able to provide adhoc ‘cover’ for our regular shift volunteers when they have planned absences such as holidays, hospital appointments, etc.

To find out more about these and ‘Learning and Support’ volunteer opportunities please call us on: 01799 510333 or email    

Thank you to all our friends, supporters and volunteers for your ongoing support for the Museum. 

For full details of our opening times and to book online:




Phone: 01799 510333