Category Archives: Events

Launch of our new Learning Services

 

Saffron Walden Museum is delighted to announce the launch of new learning and engagement services following the appointment of a Learning and Outreach Officer, Charlotte Pratt.

School children exploring the museum’s collections

The Museum is now able to offer a range of services to schools and groups, including taught sessions in the Museum, new revised schools loan boxes to support National Curriculum topics, and outreach sessions which can be delivered in the school classroom. The sessions are tailored to the National Curriculum and are an ideal way to enrich the delivery of a range of subjects. The learning menu is currently being fully developed but in the meantime, teachers and group leaders are welcome to contact Charlotte on 01799 510644 or email her to request sessions.

Saffron Walden Museum is fortunate to have a rich and varied collections as well as a separate handling collection which includes historical artefacts. Topics which can be offered include:

• Romans
• Ancient Greece
• Prehistory
• WW2
• Local History
• Vikings and Anglo Saxons
• Ancient Egypt
• Natural History
• Art and Design
• Victorians
• Geology
• Museums – kid curators
• Toys and games

A bespoke handling session for Support for Sight

As well as structured school sessions, the Museum will also be offering a range of activities for visitors and groups including school holiday activities and events for adults. The Museum is working in partnership with a range of other local and national organisations to widen its learning offer, including the Dementia Action Alliance, Support for Sight and the Wellcome Trust. Museum staff aim to make the collections and their stories accessible and engaging to all, through a range of activities to suit different needs.

On Tuesday 15 May there will be a Reminiscence object handling session, arranged in conjunction with Uttlesford Dementia Action Alliance, and visitors will be able to just drop in (usual admission charges apply).

Half-term at the Museum

Half term week saw the museum busy with children engaged in activities on Tuesday and Thursday for our “Down on the Farm” week, linked to our current exhibition From the Hazely Brick Earth: Agriculture in North-West Essex. The activities organised by our Education and Outreach Officer, Charlotte, and supported by learning volunteers, Jane Laing, Jeanette Fulcher and Jane Evans, proved popular with our regular visitors as well as many who were visiting the museum for the first time.

On Tuesday visitors could make Salt-Dough animals and on Thursday they made Pom Pom animals.

The salt dough was especially popular, (though perhaps not so popular with our lovely cleaner who had to remove some tricky spots from the carpet the following day!). Although the idea was to make farm animals, the children let their imaginations run riot and produced all sorts of exotic creatures using the cutter provided as well as a few free style creations, including a 3D sloth on a palm tree! Sadly, there is no photographic evidence of that particular creation!

There was also a Long-Horn Cow Trail taking the children to nearly every part of the museum to search for the cardboard cows that were ‘grazing’ there and to find the answers to the questions on each cow. The cows can still be seen grazing around the museum and the trail will be available until our next activities in Easter.

On Thursday the activity was to create pom pom animals. Again the aim initially was to create farm animals but an exotic menagerie was soon created, including more dinosaurs, a flamingo, some terrifying spiders and a giraffe. Featured in the photo are Dave and Gary, a pair of rather jolly pom pom diplodocus!

For the first time this half term the activities could be pre-booked and there was a charge of £1.50 per child for the 30 minute activity. This system will operate for all our holiday activities in future to allow us to provide better quality activates and enable visitors to pre-book in the weeks before the event to guarantee a slot.

The next activity days will be during the Easter holidays on Tuesday 3 April and Thursday 12 April. On Tuesday 3 April, the theme will be Brilliant Books, when children will have the opportunity to create a concertina book and write their own story. On Thursday 12 April our Spring Day activity will be to make a yarn sheep. On both days there will be free activities running alongside the pre-booked activity – Animal Stories in the Natural History gallery on 3 April and on an Animal Trail on 12 April.

For more information about our programme of events, see our Upcoming Events page or take a look at our programme

Half-term at the Museum

It’s hard to believe it’s October half-term next week! As the days are getting shorter and the country is being battered by storms, why not take shelter in the museum during half-term? We’ve got loads going on to keep the kids, and adults, entertained!


Woolly Mammoth Fun Days
25 and 26 October

Join us for our Woolly Mammoth Fun Days on the Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 October. On both days, you can follow our Woolly Mammoth activity trail around the museum, and lend a hand to create a “fur” coat for our chilly mammoths!

On both days, there will also be seated activity sessions, as follows:

Weds 25 October: Ice Age Wrapping Paper– create your own ice age themed stamp and create some ice-tastic wrapping paper

Thurs 26 October: Fantastic Fossils – paint your own plaster fossil

These seated sessions will run every 20 minutes from 11am to 1pm, and from 2pm to 4pm. There will be space for 15 children in each session. If you are coming in a large group it is advisable to come later in the day when we tend to be less busy.

Usual admission charges to the museum apply and children MUST bring an adult.


Museums at Night
27 October

Our ever-popular Museums at Night is back on Friday 27 October, from 6pm until 8pm. We’re opening up the museum after-hours and challenging you to follow our night-time trail by torchlight. See the museum as you’ve never seen it before.

Usual admission charges to the museum apply and children MUST bring an adult.


Life in the Ice Age

Until 14 January

Our current exhibition, Life in the Ice Age, runs until 14 January 2018. 

Learn about about ice sheets, glaciers and times of warmer weather. See a Stone Age man and learn more about the tools he used, and discover more about the creatures that lived in Essex during the last Ice Age glaciation.

Come and find out more about the animals of the Ice Age, with models of a sabre-tooth tiger, a European wolf and a woolly mammoth, as well as actual remains of creatures – including a woolly mammoth tusk!

 

Plus we have lots to see and do in our nine permanent galleries, which include local history, archaeology, natural history, costume and world cultures. Take one of our activity trails around the museum, dig for treasure in our archaeological sandpit, or get up close and personal with nature in our Discovery Centre.

For more details about visiting the museum click here

Stepping back 1000 years!

Over the past few weeks, the museum has been celebrating and commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Assandun. In 1016, the Anglo-Saxons fought the Danes (Vikings), under their leader Cnut, at a place called Assandun in Essex. Cnut was victorious and soon after the battle he became king of all England.

Historians have argued for centuries about the battle site – was it Ashdon near Saffron Walden or Ashington in south-east Essex? There are good reasons to consider Ashdon and Hadstock as the area where the battle was fought and where Cnut built a church in 1020 to commemorate those who fell at the battle.

To celebrate this historic event, we have been running a series of activities and events over the summer. In August, we ran family craft activities in the museum to make Saxon or Viking helmets and shields and we asked our visitors to help us create a battle mural, in the style of the Bayeaux tapestry.

dsc08182On Friday 9 September, pupils at Ashdon Primary School got a taste of Viking times when four re-enactors from Regia Anglorum and museum staff and volunteers set up a special session at the school. Regia Anglorum members introduced them to life and crafts a thousand years ago and the museum brought along a special display of local Saxon and Viking finds.

On Saturday 10 September, battle commenced at Waltons Park, Ashdon, as members of Regia Anglorum brought Saxon and Viking times to life before enthusiastic crowds. Over 800 people came to see the commemoration of the battle and a living history camp. There were special demonstrations of 11th century horsemanship and a Viking ‘boat burial’. At the museum’s activity tables in the marquee, young warriors had a chance to dress as a Viking, make shields or helmets and handle real and replica objects. There was a great atmosphere on the day, despite the typical English weather!

If you want to find out more about the battle, why not come along to the Saffron Walden Museum Society evening talk on Monday 10 October at 8pm, where Patricia Croxton-Smith will be talking about King Cnut and the Battle of Assandun.

National Insect Week

It’s National Insect Week! Celebrated from the 20 June to the 26 June 2016, National Insect Week, organised by the Royal Entomological Society, encourages people of all ages to learn more about insects.

There are over 24,000 species of insects in the United Kingdom, with hundreds of species to be found in almost every garden and green space. They can be pollinators, predators, pests, parasites and prey and their study is an important part of conservation, food production, medicine and ecology.

Saffron Walden Museum has collected insect specimens since its establishment in 1835. Our 1845 catalogue lists both British and Foreign Insects in the collection. The museum’s British Insects included butterflies, wasps and moths and the Foreign Insects included locusts and more than 350 butterflies from China, Brazil, North and South America and the Himalayas.

Female leopard moth

Female leopard moth

Nowadays, we continue to collect insects that have been found dead in the local area. This beautiful female leopard moth was found dead in a house in Elsenham and donated to the museum in 2012.

You can get up close and personal with some of the insects in our collection by looking at them under the microscope in our Discovery Centre. Whilst you’re there, you can say hello to our resident Malaysian stick insects – we now have five females and a male!

Male stag beetle

We try to encourage as much wildlife in the museum grounds as possible. Sections of the grounds have been left to grow wild to encourage biodiversity and we have recently built a loggery next to Walden Castle, to create a home for stag beetles.