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.

 

New Touring Exhibition – Mythical Creatures

Mythical Creatures is a NEW regional touring exhibition produced by Epping Forest District Museum and co-curated by students from Epping Forest College. Mythical Creatures is funded by Arts Council England and Royal Opera House Bridge. This exhibition is free to hire for venues in the East of England.

Here are some photographs from the exhibition.

Epping Forest District Museum’s Touring Exhibition Programme

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, over the past two years, Epping Forest District Museum has been working on an exciting series of touring exhibitions which encompass a wide variety of topics and interests. The series incorporates six exhibitions, including two that are co-curated by our Young Curators from Epping Forest College and Hertford Regional College We are now working on our fifth, sixth and final exhibitions that will finish the series off in time for May 2015. As we are now nearly two thirds of the way through the project we feel its time to take stock of our exhibitions and see what they have achieved.

All of the following exhibitions are free to hire for venues in the East of England. Check our website for more photos of the exhibitions, to download the exhibition packs or to find out where the exhibition is going next.
http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/index.php/out-and-about/museums/museum-home/exhibition-hire

1950s Fashion: A Decade of Glamour
Launched 26th October 2013

“I loved the exhibition; my favourite bits were dressing up and colouring the templates. The jukebox was great! I think this is a wonderful exhibition and should return soon”. Visitor, Age 10

1950s Fashion was the first touring exhibition of the series and explores both the everyday and extraordinary fashions of the 1950s. It contains vintage outfits of the time including a tailor made Teddy Boy suit designed and created by the tailor to the T.E.D.S. (The Edwardian Society). Visitors can listen to the experiences of those who lived through the mods and rockers, dance to the tunes on our customised jukebox and have fun dressing up in the outfits of the time. A fantastic exhibition that we all enjoyed putting together and launching, 1950s Fashion has proved popular with all audiences and venues and has already toured to six different locations since its launch.

Next at: Mansfield Museum, Nottinghamshire.

Response and Rescue: The Making of the Emergency Services
Launched 28th March 2014

“We visited today as the children are keen on emergency vehicles. They really enjoyed the games, dressing up and the audio guide…if the children are busy playing, parents can read the information! Thank you, we have been to the Henry Blogg Museum many times so its really good to have a new part to explore” Visitor, Age 36-45.

From Victorian volunteer fire brigades to today’s dedicated coastguard crews, this exhibition tells the story of the creation and development of the emergency services. It explores the lives of those working on the front line and the history of the life-saving services that we depend upon daily.
This exhibition is a little different to the others as it has a special emphasis on emergency services in the East of England and includes an audio tour of collected objects and stories from across the region (which venues are able to customise and add to). There is a lot to see and the display is packed full of entertaining games and interactives.

Design Icons: Through the 1960s,70s and 80s
Launched 28th August 2014

“I have told friends about this exhibition and will tell others” Visitor, Aged 70

Taking you on a journey from the mischievous Mary Quant Fashions to the ground-breaking Nintendo Gameboy, this exhibition explores some of the most recognisable designs of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Both innovative and unique, these retro design icons captured the imagination of their contemporaries and continue to inspire designers today. This exhibition features lots of hands on bits and pieces but my favourite part is the collection of original Nintendo Gameboys that visitors can play on.
Design Icons is the first of the two exhibitions curated by our Young Curators. The exhibition was worked on from start to finish by two students from Herts Regional College and is designed with teenagers and young people in mind. As part of its launch, we also rolled out a series of workshops for young people interested in the creative arts. These can tour with the exhibition so look out for them near you.

Now at: Lowewood Museum, Hertfordshire.

The Cold War: 1945-1989
Launched 28th November 2014

We decided to put together a Cold War exhibition as November 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event we thought should be commemorated and remembered. A thought-provoking and interesting exhibition, The Cold War taught me a lot about the tense struggle between communism and democracy and its effect on the world around it. Hopefully our visitors will learn a lot from it too!
We really tried to show how the Cold War affected popular culture and so this exhibition includes the music and literature inspired by the conflict and even features a reading corner for those intrigued by the shady spy stories of the time.

Next at: The Norris Museum, Cambridgeshire.

Coming Next:

Mythical Creatures
Launching April 2015

Curated by students from Epping Forest College as part of our Young Curators Programme, this exhibition showcases the students’ artworks and interpretations of legendary mythical creatures. From mermaids to griffins, this exhibition has shown me a lot about the stories and beliefs that have been used to explain these mythical beasts.
It’s time to suspend your disbelief…

Next at: Epping Forest College.

Transport
Launching July 2015

This exhibition will be a dynamic display featuring and celebrating the many ways that populations have kept themselves moving throughout time. The display will launch in July at Lowewood Museum in Hertfordshire, where it will commemorate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Stratford to Broxbourne railway line.

Next At: Lowewood Museum, Hertfordshire.

Update on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project

Finally we can share with you some of the updates on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project and the redevelopment of the Museum!

A lot has been going on behind the scenes with the Museum project. Although the building work is yet to begin there are some very exciting updates that we wanted to share with you.

Before the building work can start all the plans and designs for the building, provided by Hawkins Brown, have to be finalised. One of the key missions of this project is to make the museum and its collection accessible to all and this is something that we have been working on with the architects.

The team and people involved with the project have been very excited to see the developments of the plans and it is fantastic for us to finally be able to share with you some of the updated plans and some proposed images of how the museum is going to look when we reopen!

Entrance to the Museum
Part of the project is the plan to reopen the original entrance on Sun Street. In this image you can see what would have been the original front door to the house and this will become the new main entrance to the museum.

Image showing the original entrance to the house that is now the museum

Tudor Gallery
Another key area for the project is a chance to interpret the Tudor part of the building. The house itself has a fascinating history and the team are very keen to share and expose the story of the building.

tudor gallery

Community and Education Room
Along with new galleries and a new entrance the museum will have a dedicated community and education space. The room will be able to fit a class of 30 children making a better visitor experience for school groups but the space will have open arts and craft storage to allow for creativity but also be equipped for lectures, talks and presentations providing a fantastic new space for the museum.

activity room

The Core Gallery
As you may already be aware the redevelopment of the museum will allow for on-site collections storage and a new gallery ‘The Core Gallery’ this space will feature key objects from the collection and give visitors the opportunity to see behind the scenes into the stores, and people at work caring for the collection.

Core gallery

Art Stores
Along with the new on-site storage there will be the chance for visitors to see into the stores through glass viewing areas. This will include views of the picture stores which will be on a new racking system. This is great because the team will be able to showcase some of the fantastic pieces of art in the museum’s collection even when they aren’t on display.

art stores

We would love to hear what you think via Facebook, Twitter, comments on the blog or through the contact us links on the menu above. We will have more updates for you soon!

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.
packing

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.

volunteers

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.