Museum Education and Outreach

Just because the Museum is closed for refurbishment doesn’t mean we are not busy out and about in the community. Our education and outreach programme is still thriving.

As you may know one of the big outcomes of this exciting renovation project is the improvement of facilities and access to a brand new community/education room. This room will mean there will be a dedicated space for school groups to work in at the museum as part of their visit. Along with the new displays and bigger scope of the Museum we hope that these improvements will make a great offer for all the schools within the district.

In the meantime our education programme is still running with our Education Officer, Catherine Hammond, out and about at schools all over the Epping Forest District and the Borough of Broxbourne.

Our school sessions are available as outreach or can be booked at our sister site, Lowewood Museum. Lowewood Museum is based in Hoddesdon, Herts.

lowewood education copy

The Museum’s education programme offers a variety of sessions based around the curriculum. Topics include Toys, Tudors, Victorians, Anglo Saxons, Romans and more. Along with led sessions the Museum offers loans boxes which can be borrowed by groups and schools and used within the classroom environment.

School children workingeducation topic boxes copy

The big new addition to our fantastic Education Programme is our pre-history sessions for primary schools. This new workshop has been developed to help schools deliver the prehistory element of the new primary history curriculum. Pupils will get the opportunity to work hands on with ancient historical artefacts from the museum’s collection and to understand the lives of our ancient ancestors. Their investigations will be based around using a timeline to develop their understanding of chronology and change across a long period of time. The workshop will be available from September 2014.

To find out more about the Education offer please get in touch.
Tel. 01992 564994 – to speak to our Education Officer, Catherine Hammond

Finally just a reminder about our great local history site. Epping Forest District Museum has its own local history website for schools within the district. Historical photographs from the museum’s collection are available to help you investigate the history of your local area.

Have a look at and see what you can find.


How do you pack up a Museum?

Ever wondered what is involved in packing and moving Museum objects?

Here is a little information about what the Museum got up to during the packing process.

The Museum itself houses a wide range of objects in its collection; from art to archaeology, books, costume, photographs and much more. With such a variety of objects the collections team, staff and volunteers had to treat each category of object very differently and often pack items on a case by case basis.

The art forms quite a large part of the Museum’s collection. Both the staff and volunteers particularly enjoyed this task as the Museum has within the collection a number of pieces by local artists including Walter Spradbery and Haydn Mackey. Some of the newer staff members and volunteers were seeing some of these artworks for the first time and sometimes it was hard not to get distracted from the task at hand!

Watercolour sketches by Spradbery, produced during WW1 in the area around the Somme

Watercolour sketches by Spradbery, produced during WW1 in the area around the Somme

The Right Honourable Lord Noel Buxton, Oil on Canvas, by Haydn Mackey

The Right Honourable Lord Noel Buxton, Oil on Canvas, by Haydn Mackey

The framed art was a much bigger task (and often much larger pieces!) as it was important to photograph, measure and document each object. Each framed piece was treated individually depending on size and ornateness of the frame it would be packed in a slightly different way. Measuring was important for documentation as well as thinking about the Museum’s exciting new storage facilities, and by photographing the art the team has created a great inventory and record. Below are some pictures of volunteers packing some of the art.


The costume packing was quite different. Items where either hanging and stored in special calico bags or folded with acid free tissue and boxed. We uncovered some great fashion items whilst packing the costume, our touring exhibition assistant enjoyed looking through some of these items!

costumepacking images

Archaeological items often need a much more controlled environment so some of the objects that were susceptible to moisture damage had to be stored in boxes with airtight seals and with a kind of silica gel inside to create a ‘micro-climate’.

As you can see many of the staff and volunteers enjoyed the packing process even though it was a difficult task. There was a lot to pack and often hurdles to overcome with unusually shaped and sized objects. The collection has now been moved and safely stored in the correct environment and some of the collection will continually be documented and worked on during the Museum closure.

Heritage Lottery Fund Project Update – what have we been up to?

packing images
The major task at the moment has been to move the collections to a safe environment and empty the Museum building ready for the building work to begin.
Staff and the museum’s many volunteers have been working on the painstaking task of cataloguing, sorting and packing the Museum’s vast collection. Everyone has said what a very enjoyable task this has been even though it has been hard work. For many volunteers and some of the new staff working on the Heritage Lottery Fund Project it has given them an insight into the fantastic collection that the Museum holds.

The museum collection contains a skeleton from the Waltham Abbey Chapter House burial of around 1250 AD. Evidence suggest the man is thought to be an abbot of Waltham, a facial reconstruction has been completed, showing what the abbot may have looked like.

The museum collection contains a skeleton from the Waltham Abbey Chapter House burial of around 1250 AD. Evidence suggest the man is thought to be an abbot of Waltham, a facial reconstruction has been completed, showing what the abbot may have looked like.

Items have included artefacts as diverse as a mummified cat, an abbot’s skeleton and artworks by artists connected with the district.
Mummified Cat
One of the most important items in the museum, the Tudor panelling, on a long term loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum has been carefully moved to a suitable storage area and will be redisplayed when the museum reopens.

Everything has been packed before being stored securely and in a suitable atmosphere in order to preserve the collection’s precious and often irreplaceable items. Building specialists are now investigating and recording the historic listed building the museum is located in ahead of building works, which will begin later this year.

Look out for more updates on our exciting project in future blog posts!

Museum on the Move

You might have read in our previous post that the Museum is now closed for refurbishment. Work is well underway with the collections being relocated to safe storage and the building being emptied ready for the building work to begin.

Watch out for some later posts which will give more details on how we moved the collection, some things that we found and what was involved in the move.

As part of the closure we are going to be taking the Museum out and about to different venues as well as developing a variety of projects to allow the local and wider community to access the Museum service. As a team we are really excited by this as we get to take objects on tour and bring activities and exhibitions out to you!

Our next few blogs will introduce you to some of these special projects during the closed period, but here is a quick peek at what we will be getting up to.


lowewood Museum

If you didn’t already know we run Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon. Lowewood Museum is open 4 days a week and gives you a great chance to access a fantastic collection. We also run a lively events programme there including; exhibitions, family activities and special events. Keep an eye out on the blog for information about all the events we have planned at Lowewood and a peek behind the scenes of this great Museum.


Touring Exhibitions

Epping Forest District Museum is well known for its excellent touring exhibition programme and now thanks to Arts Council England we have developed a series of exciting and new touring exhibitions for the East of England. The programme has begun and you may have already been to one of our exhibitions but if not look out for our blog dedicated to the touring exhibitions programme – there is no excuse not to get along to one of them they cover the whole of the East of England!


As part of this project we will be running some extra special events. They will take place all over the community as well as at Lowewood Museum.

Can’t come to the Museum? Well it may be coming to a venue near you! Part of this project will involve us taking objects out and about. We will be at local events as well as a wider variety of venues so look out for us and our calendar of events and please come and join us if you can.