Update on the Museum transformation

Update on the Museum transformation

Elmbridge Museum is a professional museum, accredited under the Arts Council Accreditation scheme, and is committed to the Museum Association values of Museums Change Lives. There have been a lot of changes to the museum over the past year and we thought it was a good time to give an update on our progress. We are now working to use the collections much more actively in the community than was the case when artefacts were on static display in Weybridge.

 

Collections

Elmbridge Museum has a collection of over 40,000 artefacts, dating right back to pre-historic times. Everything in the collection comes from and is about the local area. The collection includes:

  • a regionally-significant costume collection dating back to the 1750s,
  • a splendid Jacobean wall-painting from Weybridge, dated 1605-25, probably one of fewer than ten such items in the country,
  • a lovely art collection,
  • a Roman bath house from Ockham,
  • a large social history collection, including everything from farming life to the history of the railways,
  • the excavated remains of one of Henry VIIIs palaces, a partner to Hampton Court
  • a fascinating collection of coins
  • items from the Stone Age and Iron Age

The collection is in the process of being moved to a new, purpose built store. Once this complex process has been completed, the public will more easily be able to access artefacts for research purposes.

Premises

The museum has now vacated the site at Weybridge. Staff are now working out of the Civic Centre, which has become the official address for the museum.

Staff

The museum team has been restructured to reflect the new shape of the museum. All staff are now professionally qualified, with Masters degrees in Art History, Collections Management, Museum Education and Museum Studies.

Services

Displays

  • The current display in the Civic Centre is about the history of Oatlands, from King Henry VIII's palace to a hospital for First World War soldiers
  • The display cases in Thames Ditton and Walton libraries are overdue for new displays and will be refreshed soon
  • The first Cobham Library display will open in November 2015 and will be about life in Roman Cobham

Education

  • In 2014/15, over 4,000 school children engaged with the collection via outreach sessions and discovery boxes
  • The Learning team have taken part in a ground-breaking project to facilitate new connections between museums and schools in Surrey
  • Feedback from schools has been extremely positive, in particular about the improvements in content that have been put in place
  • Every school in the borough receives a termly newsletter and brochures

Website

  • The new museum website launched last year and is regularly updated with information about local history, museum events, highlighted artefacts and what the museum team have been up to.
  • The museum is working to get much of the collection itself online and searchable - a highly complex process that will take some time to complete.
  • The website is now getting around 1,200 hits per month

Local history enquiry service

  • Unfortunately, staff and venue changes have meant that the museum has had to suspend this popular service.

Families

  • The museum continues to offer its popular monthly Family Fun sessions on Saturday afternoons. The venue has moved to Hersham Village Hall, which is working well.

Community projects

  • Last year the museum delivered its first community project: a display celebrating the centenary of the Brownie Guides. The team worked with a Hinchley Wood Brownie pack to develop and install the display on Kids Takeover Museums day (http://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/takeoverday/).
  • The museum team delivered its first reminiscence session for people with dementia at the Molesey Centre this month. The museum is developing a package of reminiscence sessions and displays that they will take to other community centres and care homes next year.
  • The museum recently worked with Hinchley Wood Secondary School on a First World War project. They trained 200 Year 9 students to be museum curators and helped turn the school into a pop-up museum for one night.
  • The team have just started a project working with local traveller, gypsy and roma groups, which will represent their history and culture to the wider community. The initiative is part of a wider research project led by the Surrey History Centre, which is researching the history of gypsies in the county for the past 500 years
  • Elmbridge Museum has just entered into a partnership with the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust. Together they are purchasing a display case that will live in the new Cobham library. This case will act as a focal point for a variety of community projects. Initially, the museum team are working with the Trust to develop an exhibition on Roman life in Cobham as well as a schools session on the same subject. Children will have the opportunity to learn about this fascinating part of history in school, and see local Roman artefacts in the display. In the future the case will be used for anything from schools art projects to other Museum/community displays.
  • The museum is currently starting the process of developing a History Club for teenagers with an interest in history and museums. Young people will be able to act as young curators for the museum - researching the collection and writing their findings up on the museum website.
  • Elmbridge Museum is in the process of creating an internship programme with Kingston University Museum Studies MA students. Students will have a valuable opportunity to gain work experience in a museum on a variety of display, education and collections care projects.

The museum is keen to develop new partnerships with community groups as it has just started to do with the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust. We would be delighted to hear from anyone in the community who has ideas about how they can more effectively use their 40,000 objects in the community.

|Contact us to find out more.