You Wear it Well – volunteer blogs

Hear from some of our volunteers about their latest project, helping with the You Wear It Well exhibition and why they want to be a volunteer!

helenName: Helen

What is the current exhibition you are working on about?

The costume exhibition is called ‘You Wear it Well’. It tells the story of the museum’s costume collection and how we care for it.

Which has been your favourite costume you’ve worked on so far and why?

The 1914 wedding dress, it has swing to its structure and style.

 

 

What are you working on at the moment and going to work on next?

I have been working on condition checking and preparing for the exhibition. I have also been steaming the costume ready for photography and display. The next steps will including searching for ephemera related to the exhibition.

Why have you chosen to volunteer at Epping Forest District Museum?

I have an interest in history and museums in general. Also, a local resident in Waltham Abbey.

You Wear it Well – volunteer blogs

Hear from some of our volunteers about their latest project, helping with the You Wear It Well exhibition and why they want to be a volunteer!

MichaelaName: Michaela

What is the current exhibition you are working on about?

‘Wear it well’ – costume exhibition, deals with various aspects of the history of clothes from early 20th century up until the present day. This exhibition also explains how to look after the costume collection and what damages could occur.

Which has been your favourite costume you’ve worked on so far and why?

One of them would be an evening dress with floral decorations, a light blue one from the 1950s. It has a lovely ballroom feel, it’s in great condition, and as I love that time period, it is one of my favourites of this exhibition.

What are you working on at the moment and going to work on next?

I have been measuring and condition checking the costumes we chose for the exhibition, also I have started steaming them and will continue to do this.

Why have you chosen to volunteer at Epping Forest District Museum?

I have always been interested in history (any field) and have visited various museums since I was a child. As I don’t live far away and have a keen interest in behind the museum scenes, Epping Forest District Museum was an easy choice. I have learned a lot and have met lovely people.

You Wear it Well – volunteer blogs

Hear from some of our volunteers about their latest project, helping with the You Wear It Well exhibition and why they want to be a volunteer!

JoanName: Joan

What is the current exhibition you are working on about?

‘You wear it well’ exhibition is the new display for 2020. It involves fashion and accessories portraying the museums costume collection.

Which has been your favourite costume you’ve worked on so far and why?

A long black velvet evening coat, its timeless! It is elegant in good condition and the coat can be worn and suited over any dress.

 

 

What are you working on at the moment and going to work on next?

At the moment we are working on conditioning reports for the exhibition, such as accessories. Next, we have plans for laying out the Perspex exhibition cubes.

Why have you chosen to volunteer at Epping Forest District Museum?

I have a love of history, its interesting to learn low artefacts are cared for through conversation. Meeting new friends, in the last two years I have enjoyed working on the costume.

Being an apprentice at Epping Forest District Museum

Melis 1`Hi there, my name is Melis and I am a business admin and customer service apprentice at Epping Forest District Council. My first 6-month placement was here at Epping Forest District Museum.

My journey started off with leaving Harlow college with a distinction in music, and not knowing my next step to success. I had no interest in going to university or carry on being in education. My initial plan was to carry on doing music, but my route changed after having the suggestion of joining the council as an apprentice by my own mother.

I applied not knowing anything about the council at all, and within a few weeks, I had received an email to inform me that I will be interviewed but with a pre-training week taking place beforehand.

During my pre-training week, I met other apprentices to be, who were part of my age group, I wasn’t expecting this at all. I had learnt more about the departments in the council and a few skills on how to undergo an interview. All of this really helped me with succeeding in securing my apprenticeship placement at the council.

My interview had taken place right after that week and I believe that was the best interview I had ever experienced. This was because I felt more comfortable knowing that I had practiced this time. Whereas with my part time jobs in the past, I hadn’t prepared for an interview before and my interviews were based on how well I worked in a team activity rather than having a discussion in a one-to one meeting.

Melis 3My interviewer had asked which placement I’d be interested to work in first, and straight away I wanted to work at the museum as I had an interest in history and really liked working with children.

On induction day, we were presented to our managers and I was so delighted to meet my manager knowing that I had got the placement I wanted, I was very grateful. The next day, I had toured round the museum and Hemnall street and all my colleagues had introduced themselves to me and made me feel welcome.

 

I have been doing a variety of things at my first placement. I focused on a schedule that I’d be doing from Monday to Friday. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I’d be working with a colleague on marketing tasks, which would include marketing theory and updating contact lists for upcoming events. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I would be helping the volunteers with the museum collection which was a great experience because, I had the opportunity to hold old items even from the Victorian period. I’d add new collections onto a spreadsheet, move boxes around to see what needs to be put on display and sometimes clean these items in a specific way as these were really old and delicate things to take care of.

On Friday mornings I’d sit on reception, deal with customers face to face as well as over the phone. I learnt how to use the till and learnt more about the shop stock which was interesting.

Aside from these specific projects I’d also deal with customers over the phone whilst being in the office and help with a number of activities and events that took place. For example: Toddler Tuesdays which is once a month and Museum Movers which is a movement class for those over 55. It was great to participate in these activities because not only was it fun but, I’d meet new customers all the time and they were very friendly.

I do not know where my next placement will be, but I am excited as there are so many opportunities coming my way. My apprenticeship lasts for 2 years meaning I get to work in four placements in total. Even if I am not keen on one placement, I will remain optimistic because firstly, it will give me the benefit of learning new skills, and secondly, it will help me decide which areas I would like to work in when I apply for a job at the council in two years’ time.

I have had a lovely experience here and I will really miss the Museum and staff and the volunteers, and surely will visit again soon!

 

 

Singing in the Wilderness

Swinging in the wilderness poster

 
Where: St John’s C of E Primary School, High Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5RX

When: Saturday 29 September

Time: 3pm – 7pm

Price: Free (some activities may be charged for; all money raised will go to the school)

Everyone welcome

 

 

 

Epping Forest District Council’s Museums, Heritage and Culture team and St John’s C of E Primary School, Buckhurst Hill are hosting an event to celebrate the life and work of local artist Walter Spradbery.

IMG_1022 Open Air SocialIn 1938, Spradbery and his wife Dorothy held an ‘Open Air Social’ with stalls, sideshows, donkey rides, traditional dances and art displays. This will be recreation of that event on its 80th anniversary.

There will be a specially choreographed dance performance by Flux Dance Collective who has been working with pupils from the school to create a piece inspired by Spradbery. A historical interpreter will play the role of Walter Spradbery, leading tours into the wilderness to visit the site where the house once stood. The day will end with a fun performance by Impropera, the world’s only improvised Opera Company. Buckhurst Hill Community Association will have an art display, and there will be a small exhibition about Walter Spradbery.

1997-240

The Wilderness

 

He lived next door to St John’s C of E Primary School, in a house known as ‘The Wilderness’ from 1929 – 1969. The site is now part of Epping Forest and a stone plaque marks where the house once stood.

 

 

spradbery-events-flyer-front.jpg

This event is part of a programme of activities for the ‘Walter Spradbery, Artist in War and Peace’ exhibition, at Epping Forest District Museum, Waltham Abbey; on display from Saturday 21 July to Saturday 22 December 2018. For more information visit http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum

 
Walter Spradbery
Spradbery is best known for his poster designs for London Transport, one of which was recently used on the new signboards marking the boundaries of Epping Forest. He and his wife, opera singer Dorothy D’Orsay, also held many musical and opera performances in the gardens of ‘The Wilderness’ for the local community.
Spradbery was also a committed pacifist. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery in rescuing injured comrades under intense enemy fire.

Award-winning volunteer team

Andrew and Sarah SHARE awards 2Epping Forest District Museum and Lowewood Museum Collections Volunteers team have won the Collections Champion Award from SHARE Museums East.

Andrew and Sarah Goodliffe, two of our volunteers, attended the celebration evening at Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket on Wednesday 6 June to collect the award on behalf of the whole volunteering team. Our team was one of 11 from the East of England to be shortlisted for this award.

Our Volunteers

With only one full-time specialist Collections Officer the museum relies on the help and care the team of eight volunteers bring to the collection to fulfil its potential. In making their decision the judges considered the team’s passion, commitment, dedication and initiative.

Our core team of collections volunteers consist of 12 members. We have three volunteers who work on the garden and two front of house volunteers.  At the moment there are a further 12 volunteers working on specialist projects and exhibitions; the largest cohort has recently been researching Hertfordshire man Stephen Warner for the current exhibition Stephen Warner: One Man’s Journey through War at Lowewood Museum.

Volunteers’ Week

This week, 1 – 7 June, is Volunteers’ Week, a chance to thank all volunteers for their contribution to our service. This award, which the team were nominated for by Assistant Museums, Heritage and Culture Manager, Will O’Neill, is the perfect way to say thank you.

SHARE Museums East

SHARE Museums East, based in Norfolk, support museums in the East of England. They provide staff and volunteer training, project funding and help with collections management.

For more information visit http://sharemuseumseast.org.uk/

Save the Willingale Treasure!

Epping Forest District Museum (EFDM) is launching an appeal to save a medieval gold ring found in the parish of Willingale before the item goes on sale on the open market. It is the first medieval gem set ring to be found in the district, and the first known finger-ring to be discovered in the parish of Willingale. The decoration is of an extremely high standard and, to the best of our knowledge, unique. In total £11,500 is needed to save the ring and buy a display case for the community ensuring it is on free public display for generations to come. The campaign has already received support from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and SHARE Museums East and EFDM has committed funding from its reserves leaving £3000 to be raised. If the target’s reached the ring will go on public display in the museum’s newly renovated core gallery saving it for current and future residents to enjoy. If the funding is not raised, the ring may be sold on the open market and possibly leave the UK permanently.
Why it’s a great idea:
Recently unearthed by a metal detectorist the ring is thought to date from c.1200-1399 and would have been worn by a wealthy medieval nobleman. It is a fine and very well preserved example of a medieval sapphire set finger ring; the maker is unknown however the craftsmanship demonstrates great skill and technical ability. It is the first ring of its type to be found within the district, the decoration is of extremely high standard and, to the best of our knowledge, unique. We are the only museum in the district that covers archaeology and social history and we also act as the archaeological depository for the area. Our remit is to tell the human history of the Epping Forest District. If successful in securing the ring we would not only ensure its long term preservation but also make it widely available to the public through free exhibitions, inclusion in our school education programme, public talks as well as the ring being made available for loan and research.

If you would like to know more about our campaign please get in touch with the team at the museum on museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or 01992 716882.

If you would like to make a donation towards our campaign either visit the Museum or donate online at https://www.spacehive.com/willingaletreasure

Thank you.

Halloween Blog Post – Myths about Witches

As you may already know Epping Forest District Museum has a selection of Touring Exhibitions available for hire – one of which covers the theme of Witch Hunts. For our Halloween Special Blog here is a little bit of information from that exhibition.

Many people imagine that witches were lonely old hags tending cauldrons and casting spells. This image recurs in many novels, plays and films, like the much-loved Wizard of Oz and the more recent Harry Potter stories. However, many of the ideas and characteristics associated with witches are actually myths. Here are some of the common ones:

Witches were all women
Women were associated with witchcraft because of links between femininity and weakness to temptation. Many deaths blamed on witchcraft occurred in female spheres within households and neighbourhoods. Despite this, 20% of witches were male. An infamous case involved John Lowes, the vicar of Brandeston in Suffolk. He confessed to sinking ships and other terrible crimes, and was hanged at Bury St Edmunds in August 1645.

Witches rode on broomsticks
Some believed that witches met at night in remote places, to which they travelled through the air on broomsticks. This is rarely mentioned in legal records relating to witchcraft. In 1712 an English judge is said to have laughed at the suggestion that a Hertfordshire witch had a magic broom, declaring that there was no law against flying!

Witches were all burned at the stake
The terrifying image of English witches being burned at the stake has featured in horror films like Witchfinder General (1968). Although witches were burned on the continent and in Scotland, other types of execution included beheading, drowning and burial alive. Some were merely imprisoned, banished or forced to repent. In England, the punishment for invoking demons and murder by witchcraft was hanging. A rare witch-burning took place at Ipswich in 1645, when Mary Lakeland was executed by these means for bewitching her husband to death – the crime of petty treason.

Millions died in the witch-hunts
Estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft varies wildly, reaching as high as 9 million. Legal records show there were around 100,000 witch-trials in early modern Europe, and that death sentences were passed in about half of these. This may seem a lot for an impossible crime, but compared with the size of the population witchcraft prosecutions were quite rare.

Here are some objects from our collections relating to the Witch Hunt topic:
BELLARMINE
Bellarmine jugs have often been used as ‘witch bottles’ and the bearded or ‘wild’ man figure was even thought to scare off witches. When used as ‘witch bottles’, these jugs would contain hair, nail clippings and urine, all believed to help capture evil spirits. Witches spells were considered harmless if these bottles were burned at midnight.

bottle
Small glass bottles, like the type shown here, have been found in many 16th and 17th century houses. Many contained salt or nails- all considered effective safeguards against witches.
This and other glass bottles were found in 1966 during the excavation of 46/48 Sewardstone Street, Waltham Abbey.

1840StocksNWhip
This image shows the pillory which stood in Waltham Abbey’s churchyard. Sited next to the pillory was the Tudor stocks (or whipping post). The Elizabethan Act (1563) prescribes that for a first offence of any attempt to use witchcraft that did not result in the death of a victim, the punishment would be one year in prision and “once in every Quarter of the said yere shall in some Market Town, upon Market day or at suche tyme as any Fayer shall be kept there, stande openly upon the Pillorie by the space of Sixe Houres, and there shall openly confesse his or her Error and Offence”

This exhibition was put together by Epping Forest District Museum in conjunction with Malcolm Gaskill.
To find out more about our Touring Exhibitions email us at museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Museum on the Move reopens

11201810_1288186537863313_6734758118269799242_nEpping Forest District Museum reopened it’s doors to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

The bells of Waltham Abbey Church rang as reenactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment marched up Sun Street towards the museum.

Party atmosphere

A party atmosphere was enjoyed by all who came to celebrate the museum’s special day. They were treated to a jive dance demonstration and a morris dancing display by the Chingford Morris Men in Sun Street.

Over 750 people visited the museum, they enjoyed activities including decorating eggs in the new community space, and were given access to all the museum’s new galleries for the first time.

Welcome back

Museum staff were thrilled with the positive feedback they received. Comments include “Big improvement, proud to live in the Abbey” and “Welcome back! We’ve missed the museum and love the new look!

Museum on the Move

The museum team also celebrated the reopening of the museum by making a film showing what has been going on behind the scenes. The ‘Museum on the Move’ film also features as part of the museum’s first temporary exhibition all about transport through history.

 

Update on the Museum redevelopment project

Since our last update lots of changes have happened at the museum site. The majority of the building works are now complete and the project is on to the furnishing and decorating stage.

A key milestone in the last month or so is the installation of the lift. A big part of the museum project, the lift now makes the museum fully accessible throughout.

The new spaces are also taking shape with the education/community room, temporary exhibition gallery and core gallery ready for decoration and furnishing.

The project is progressing well and still on track for a Spring 2016 opening.