Latest News - Saffron Walden Museum (October 2021)

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Saffron Walden Museum Summer

Museum News for October

volunteers welcome

Visiting the Museum!

Our opening times are currently Thursday-Saturday 10-5pm and Sundays & Bank Holidays 2-5pm.

 For half-term week, the Museum will be open Tuesday 26 – Saturday 29 October 10-5pm, and Sunday 31 October 2-5pm. 

From November, our opening hours will be Wednesday-Saturday 10-4.30pm, Sunday 2-4.30pm

Tuesdays will be reserved for pre-booked group visits by schools and other parties

We no longer require online advance booking.

Please pay by cash or card at our welcome desk on arrival at the museum.

In the interests of safety, we encourage

  • Wearing of face coverings
  • Maintaining social distance
  • Using hand sanitiser

These measures are no longer compulsory.

The QR code for the NHS Track & Trace app is displayed in the foyer for visitors who wish to scan it, but it is no longer compulsory for visitors to provide us with contact details.

object of the month

Object of the Month

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

October’s Objects of the Month chosen by James Lumbard, one of our Natural Science's Officers are examples of fossilised plants.

Fossils can form in different ways depending on where they form, and the type of plant or animal.

Soft leaves and flowers need to be buried quickly in deep sediment like mud or volcanic ash where the low oxygen levels mean they won’t rot. This fern frond has been preserved by compression, like pressing and drying it in fine mud over millions of years. Heat and pressure force moisture and gases from the leaf, leaving only a thin, black, carbon-rich film in the rock. Soft-bodied animals like squid can also fossilise like this. See this leaf, along with examples of a fossilised flower and wood in the Museum in October.

To find out more visit the Museum in October or check out the Blog on our website.


New Exhibition

Fossilisation: a slice of the Anthropocene              

18 Sep 2021 – 20 Mar 2022


Fossilisation features original bronze and mixed media sculpture by acclaimed artist Kabir Hussain.

Drawing on the concepts of fossilisation and preservation and accompanied by objects from across the museum collection, Fossilisation: a slice of the Anthropocene questions what traces of modern society might remain in the fossil and geological record thousands of years from now.

exhibition 2


We are very pleased that Kabir’s original sculptures will be for sale throughout the exhibition period, with pieces available for collection once the exhibition has closed.

Kabir has exhibited at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, and completed various residencies across London and the East of England. He is based near Woodbridge, Suffolk, where he combines his art with a career as a professional bronze caster, and educational work for students and emerging artists.

autumn pack

October Half-Term & Halloween


Stay tuned to our website and social media for all the info about our upcoming half term and halloween themed activities.....details to be released next week. 


vol party 2

Volunteer Tea Party

On Monday 20th September the museum held a tea party to say thank you to our dedicated band of volunteers. 

Refreshments were served outside in the gazebos so that everyone could enjoy socialising.  Museum staff were on hand to answer any questions in the museum galleries and Sarah Kirkpatrick, Uttlesford Blue Badge Guide gave tours of the castle. 

volunteer party


Creating a Museum from Your Own Life

Tuesday 21st September saw us have a great turnout for our first in-person talk in a long while due to covid restrictions.

Author Rachel Morris who originally hails from Newport treated us to a whistle-stop tour of her family's history, how she created a mini museum to tell their stories, how she came to write her book and her career as a museum consultant.  

case clean

Diorama Cleaning

Sarah, one of our Natural Sciences Officers, got up close to some wildlife that lives near water when she cleaned the pond in the display of the Nature of North West Essex.

Habitats that are important for wildlife in Uttlesford include ancient woodlands (where you may see oxlips), flower rich chalk grassland and wetland areas like ponds, rivers and marshes that contain a variety of wildlife including great crested newts and grass snakes.

These areas are connected by wildlife corridors which are linear features in the landscape that wildlife can travel along, such as hedgerows, road verges, green lanes, railway tracks and rivers.


CV Walden...goes online

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. 

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

A selection of the material collected for the archive to date, is now available online on our website

Mary Knight

Please note the change of date 

Mary Knight     

Memorial Service 

A memorial service will now be held on Saturday 9th October at 2.30pm at St. Mary's Saffron Walden, followed by refreshments at the Parish Rooms.  Her family would be delighted to welcome as many of Mary's museum friends as possible, that would like to join them to celebrate her life.

The family will also be launching the charity that they are setting up in her name The Mary Knight Foundation for Budding Gardeners which they are establishing with support from Bridge End Gardens to support young people wishing to learn about, study or practice horticulture and gardening, by providing small local grants.  

Here Mary is pictured being presented with her Museum long service certificate.

lost language

Lost Language of Nature Project

The project is progressing with conservation work on the little bittern, which is found across Europe, western Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa including Madagascar. It is the smallest member of the heron family in Europe, only about 30cm/12” long, though our specimen is smaller than that. It’s currently on a temporary foam base, waiting for work to conserve and rebuild some of the skin that has been lost from its feet. A blackbird has also had its head reattached and a wing strengthened. Work feels slow but we’ve started on some challenging pieces, so slow and steady is the order of the day! We want to make lasting changes and improvements to the information the museum holds on these items, including folk names, stories and histories of the birds. Please see the website or email to share your forgotten names and stories.


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.  Why not book for the next school year or for your community group.

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.



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 or direct

Initially three sessions will be available - Prehistory Hunters, Fantastic Fossils and Adaptions - with more being added in due course. 

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. 


Snapping the Stiletto Project 

Campaigning for Equality 

Artist in Residence

Heidi Sharp joined us during the school summer holidays as our artist in resident.  She explored women’s histories and untold stories, inspired by the Museum’s collections. She demonstrated her art practice in our Ceramics and Glass gallery during that time and ran a couple of printing/collage workshops in the Museum.  Her work and a selection of work by the workshop participants (as pictured) will go on display in the Museum shortly. 

Check out our learning hub and our website for more information:   

(blog post from Heidi) 



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.....  

This month inspired by Halloween  we have plush Nature Buddies cats, owls and more for just £3.50, as well as some brilliantly messy ‘make your own’ gooey slime powder!


Saffron Walden Museum Needs You!

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 contact the museum using the details below.

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



Phone: 01799 510333