Latest News - Saffron Walden Museum (Xmas & New Year 2022)

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Saffron Walden Museum Summer

Museum News for Christmas & New Year

Season’s Greetings from Saffron Walden Museum

xmas staff

Visiting the Museum!

Our standard opening hours are currently Wednesday-Saturday 10-4.30pm, Sunday 2-4.30pm

Closed on Mondays.

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

Over Christmas and New Year are opening hours will be: 

Thurs 23 Dec - close at 12.30noon

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing Day : CLOSED

Bank Hol Mon 27 Dec : 2-4.30pm

Bank Hol Tues 28 Dec :  2-4.30pm

Wed 29, Thurs 30, Fri 31st Dec : 10am-4.30pm

New Year's Day (Sat 1 Jan) :  2-4.30pm

Sun 2 Jan:  2-4.30pm

Bank Hol Mon 3 Jan : 2-4.30pm

Then normal opening hours resume:

Tues 4 Jan : CLOSED

Wed 5 Jan onwards: 10am-4.30pm 

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

The QR code for the NHS Track & Trace app is displayed in the foyer for visitors who wish to scan it.


Object of the Month

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

January’s ‘Object of the Month’ has been chosen by Sarah Kenyon, one of the museum's Natural Sciences Officers. 

It's a Ptarmigan bird in white winter plumage.  As cold temperatures and snow descend over Britain animals put on their winter coats. In Scotland several species change the colour and thickness of their fur and feathers to stay hidden, or camouflaged, and warm. They are the Mountain Hare, Pine Marten, Stoat, Reindeer and Ptarmigan.

This adult male Ptarmigan, Lagopus mutus, shows the white winter plumage which helps the bird blend in with the snow and remain safe from predators, especially birds of prey. The feathers around their legs also help to keep in warmth. These small, plump game birds can be found on Scottish mountains, such as the Cairngorms, and on heather moors at high altitudes. They have a characteristic walk. In summer their feathers are speckled grey and brown which blends in with rocks, scrub and heather.

This bird was collected between 1835 and 1899, after Saffron Walden Museum opened in 1835 and before the end of the nineteenth century. It is a stuffed specimen mounted on an imitation rock with a painted wooden base. To find out more visit the Museum in January to see the Ptarmigan on display or check out the Blog on our website. 


Current Exhibition

Fossilisation: a slice of the Anthropocene              

Runs until 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.


We are very pleased that Kabir’s original sculptures are 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.

exhibition 3

bronze 2

Upcoming Events!

Bronze & Bubbles

Lost wax bronze casting workshop

The perfect Christmas gift for the art lover in your life, or New Year treat to yourself! A unique chance to craft your own cast bronze sculpture at Saffron Walden Museum inspired by its historic collections and our current temporary exhibition Fossilisation.

Spend a bubbly brunch or exclusive evening with dedicated use of the Museum building and get creative with the ancient art of bronze casting using the lost wax technique. The workshop lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and will be led by Charlotte, the Museums’ Learning & Outreach Officer

Learn about the ancient lost wax process and sculpt your own wax model to be cast in bronze by Walnut Works and Butley Mills foundry in Suffolk, home to Kabir Hussain, the artist behind Fossilisation.

All guidance, equipment and materials are included in the ticket price, including the cost of casting in bronze, postage between the museum and foundry plus return delivery. Price also includes a glass of fizz, snacks and refreshments.

Tickets available from the Museum’s Art Tickets website or the Museum shop, open Wed-Sat 10:00 am – 4:30 pm and Sun 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm.

Course dates and times are Friday 14 January 2022 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm or Tuesday 25 January 2022 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. Limited to 8 spaces per course. Additional dates and times may be added if demand is high.

Ticket price £69.00, participants must be 18 or over.

For more information about workshops, see the Museum’s website or call 01799 510333

Art Tickets:

kabir exhibition 2

Saffron Walden Museum Needs You!

Do you follow us on social media, visit our website, receive our e-newsletter?

What do you think about what we do online? We’d love your feedback!

Please complete this short online survey to help us better understand our digital audiences and what you want from us.

The survey is being run regionally by SHARE and the project is called VIE (Visitor Impact East) 

Here's the link to the survey:

Your responses will help shape our future work and develop content and programmes that meet your needs.


Unlocking past lives through ancient DNA

Recently the Museum was delighted to participate in a project with the Francis Crick Institute to analyse ancient DNA (aDNA) from skeletal remains. The project, funded by the Wellcome Foundation, seeks to establish the whole-genome history and evolution in a thousand ancient people from Great Britain, to aid medical research. It will also provide museums with new information on the individuals whose DNA has been analysed, giving us fresh insights into past lives.

63 burials from Uttlesford sites had tiny samples taken for DNA analysis and we await the results with great interest, hoping that most will have well-preserved DNA to provide new information on the individuals represented. Most of the burials sampled are from the Anglo-Saxon populations of Saffron Walden and Wicken Bonhunt, but the sample also included a few Romano-British burials from Great Chesterford and a late Iron Age or early Roman burial from Stansted Airport.

The image shows Jesse McCabe, Laboratory Research Scientist (Francis Crick Institute) carefully examining a bone fragment in the research room at our Shirehill store. For a DNA sampling there are 3 parts of the skull that can be used: the tiny bones from inside the ear, commonly known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup; a piece of the temporal bone from the cranium; or a well-preserved tooth.

Ancient human remains are excavated and deposited with museums if they have been unearthed by development or environmental processes, and reburial is not a practical or possible option. The care and analysis of human remains is subject to professional and ethical guidelines, and excavation takes place under licence from the Ministry of Justice.

fire museum

Future Exhibition:

All Fired Up:

Essex Fire Museum

Jenny Oxley, Collections Officer (Human History) recently visited the staff and volunteers at Essex Fire Museum at Grays, part of Essex Fire & Rescue Service, to work with them to plan the combined exhibition being held here at Saffron Walden Museum.  The All Fired Up exhibition is scheduled to open on Saturday 2nd April and run in the temporary exhibition gallery until Sunday 3rd July. 


Learning & Outreach

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

We welcome schools and community groups to the Museum or offer outreach sessions. 

Why not book for the next school term 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 secure.




Museum Shop Spotlight

Linked to the museum's acquisition of a cabinet of butterflies and moths....we are highlighting our bespoke jigsaws....

Unique - Saffron Walden Museum commissioned jigsaw puzzles, inspired by our British Butterfly collection.  These are very different to standard jigsaw puzzles:

Whimsy pieces - Victorian puzzle ‘whimsies’ – this jigsaw has bespoke pieces which reflect the nature of the puzzle itself.

Irregular Pieces - The mini jigsaw puzzles (40 pieces) may be small but that doesn't mean they're easy. Perfect for adults and children to complete together or alone they’re still challenging.

British Made Wooden Classic  - Not only are they made from sustainable wood, which gives a fabulous tactile feeling, but they are cut using lasers. Laser cutting the pieces ensures that each piece fits together perfectly  On sale for just £7.50 each.

Our stationery packs and jigsaws are now available for sale online via the TIC website, here are the links:


Stationery Pack:

season tickets

Annual Season Tickets

Our convenient, money-saving Annual Season ticket offers you the best value at just £8 for Adult tickets and £4 for Concessions; it includes this monthly e-newsletter highlighting all our latest museum news and upcoming exhibitions, events and activities!



Welcome to our new welcome desk recruits Olivia and Joanne R and a special thank you to collections volunteer Joanne P who has stepped in to help with the Welcome Desk as well. 

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our welcome desk 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.


Red Legged a Pear Tree (c) Saffron Walden Museum 

Thank you to all our friends, supporters and volunteers for your ongoing support, particularly again this year when things have been tough for everyone.

We wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and best wishes for 2022.



Phone: 01799 510333