Hello! As I’ve been here since the end of April, it’s well-and-truly time to introduce myself. I’m James Lumbard, and I’m delighted to have been chosen to share the post of Natural Sciences Officer with Sarah Kenyon. I’ve really enjoyed my introduction to the job, the museum and the friendly staff and volunteers who make it such a pleasant place to work and visit. I’m originally from South Wales and moved to East Anglia two years ago. I’ve moved around a few times since then, moving to Tendring district at the start of this year, so it’s great to have the chance to explore Uttlesford and the lovely town of Saffron Walden.
I first discovered the wonder of museums while at university, thanks to an invitation to stay with a friend and undertake a summer work placement at the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent. I was studying Natural Sciences at the time and I’ve never looked back since those two weeks spent exploring what may be the world’s oldest taxidermy dioramas, an attic full of animal skeletons and nearly tripping over a penguin (in a box) from Shackleton’s first Antarctic expedition.
More recently, I’ve worked as an intern at the Museum of East Anglian Life and as a trainee at Norwich Castle, on a Heritage Lottery-funded project to redevelop and transform the Castle Keep. After all that history, I’m very excited to be ‘coming home’ to the natural sciences at Saffron Walden Museum.
It seems like a busy and interesting time to join the museum, with plans to improve our understanding of the museum’s surroundings, the objects on display and in storage, and to make more information easily accessible to visitors to the museum and the website. I have several projects to my name, including work to link historical and modern records for objects in the geology collection, a deep clean of the biology and geology galleries and stored natural history collection, and assessing the suitability of items that have been offered to the museum.
Having already started some of the work, I can tell it’s going to be long and ultimately very rewarding. A lot of it is behind the scenes at the moment, but be sure to keep an eye out on the website and on social media for updates. What really drives me through is the outward result of so many hours of work by staff and volunteers – I just can’t wait until all our work starts to come together for the benefit of local residents, museum visitors, and researchers from far and wide.