Below are our press releases from the museum, plus highlights from local press coverage of Braintree District Museum. Thank you to the Braintree and Witham Times, Essex Chronicle, East Anglian Daily Times and other local publications for your support of the museum.
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Braintree District Museum invited local representatives and Friends of the Museum to join them on the evening of Friday 3 July as they opened their summer exhibition, World War II: The People’s Story. The exhibition is the culmination of a fascinating 6 month oral history project conducted by the Museum’s Collections Manager, Claire Willetts. The project aimed to commemorate the 70thanniversary of VE day which took place earlier this year by highlighting the story of War in our county and its enduring legacy.
Visitors admire the World War II artefacts on display and listen to the audio testimonies of those who lived through the wartime period.
Braintree District Museum celebrated the fantastic dedication and support it receives from all of its volunteers as the Museum secured two awards at the first annual Share Museums East Volunteer Awards in Bury St Edmunds last night.The Museum was the only institution fortunate enough to receive more than one award.
2015 sees many celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, sealed by King John in June 1215, taking place across the country. This autumn, Braintree District Museum will be offering a diverse programme of exhibitions and events looking at the important local context of the Magna Carta story, and what the local area was like in the late 12th – early 13th Centuries. The Charter is seen as the first proper attempt to limit the power of the King by law, and the foundation of modern democracy and constitutional law.
The central story of Braintree District is the role of Robert de Vere, local baron of Hedingham Castle. Robert was one of the 25 barons who met at Runnymeade to force this ‘Great Charter’ on the King. Castle Hedingham Parish Council has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant to celebrate its status as home to one of the Magna Carta Barons, and a key feature of this celebratory programme will be an exhibition looking at Robert de Vere’s and Castle Hedingham’s story in the events surrounding Magna Carta. The Museum is pleased to be putting together the exhibition for the Parish Council which will launch in St Nicholas Church, Castle Hedingham, on 12 June 2015. In addition to the interpretation provided by the museum the exhibition will also feature work by the local school and Heritage and Art Societies, aspects coordinated by the parish council. Following a period in Castle Hedingham the exhibition will transfer to Braintree District Museum where objects, interpretation and interactives looking at Braintree buildings and life in the late 12th and early 13th Century will be added to give a wide-ranging look at the locality in this period of daily toil and political trouble. The resulting combined exhibition ‘Medieval Toil and Trouble: Braintree – Magna Carta’ will open at the museum on 22 September 2015, closing on 5 January 2016.
To complement the exhibition the Museum is planning a medieval-themed event day during October half term with fun and educational activities for all the family. ‘Knights, Peasants and Medieval Marvels’ will take place on Saturday 24 October 10am – 3pm. Activities already confirmed include music by the Riotous Assembly of Castle Hedingham and knight-themed family craft workshops. Many more activities will be planned throughout the day, keep an eye on the museum’s website and social media for further details.
The Museum is also holding two talks connected to Castle Hedingham and the Medieval period. On Wednesday 14 October at 3pm local historian Charles Bird will be presenting his new research on the Bingham Pottery of Castle Hedingham, a 19th Century industry partly inspired by the local medieval Hedingham Ware. On Wednesday 25 November at 3pm archaeologist David Andrews will be giving a talk on the Medieval Castles of East Anglia. Tickets for each talk are just £3 and include light refreshments. To book a place please call 01376 328868.
Jo Beavis, Councillor for Hedingham and Maplestead and Cabinet Member for Culture said, ‘The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta offers a great opportunity to highlight the important heritage of Castle Hedingham and the role the de Vere family played in politics for nearly 700 years. The exhibition and event programme will give local people the chance to really imagine what the district was like in 1215 and to celebrate the rich heritage still visible in the buildings and landscape today. It is lovely that Braintree District Museum and Castle Hedingham Parish Council are working in partnership to make this heritage accessible to as many local people as possible’.
‘Medieval Toil and Trouble’ will be open during normal museum opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm from 22 September 2015 – 5 January 2016. Normal admission charges will apply (£3 adults, £1.50 concessions, children free). For more information on Museum exhibitions and events please visit our website at www.braintreemuseum.co.uk or call 01376 328868.
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Notes to editors:
The Castle Hedingham exhibition has been funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage Grant.
Sharing Heritage is a not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community’s heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are available to groups who want to discover their local heritage. Projects range from exploring local archaeology and a community’s cultures and traditions to identifying and recording wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment. Managing and training volunteers and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past are also covered
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, it invests in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with £5.9bn across the UK. For more information go to www.hlf.org.uk.
On Saturday 10th January the museum’s new 2015 exhibition program opens with an exhibition by E.A.S.T – East Anglian Stitch Textiles. ‘Between the Lines’ has been produced in response to the centenary of the First World War and premiered at Alexandra Palace to outstanding reviews. Each of the thirteen artists has explored the 1914-18 conflict and undertaken extensive research of their chosen theme. These cover a wide range of topics and reflections including life on the Western Front, the role of women, the effects on landscape and nature, allied armies, mapping, armaments and the works of writers and artists in the 1920s. E.A.S.T was formed in 1995 by a group of experienced textile artists who were interested in establishing a masterclass in East Anglia. The group is based in Braintree and has close links with Braintree District Museum and the Warner Textile Archive.
The works on display demonstrate a wide range of textile techniques reflecting the interests of each member. The contemporary work will be accompanied by the research material making the completed display informative and topical as the country remembers this significant period of our history.
Jennifer Brown, Collection and Interpretation Officer at the museum, said ‘This exhibition follows on from our popular exhibition on Braintree District during the war. ‘Between the Lines’ offers a very different way for visitors to learn about and reflect on the impact of WWI on all sectors of society through the power of visual, creative interpretations.’
The artists will also be giving a talk in the exhibition gallery on Wednesday 21st January at 3pm, during which they will explain more about the research for the exhibits and their techniques. Tickets are just £3, please call the museum on 01376 328868 to book a place.
The exhibition will be open during normal museum opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm from 10th January – 14th March. Normal admission charges apply (£3 adults, £1.50 concessions, children free). For more information please visit our website at www.braintreemuseum.co.uk or call 01376 328868.
Steve Russell from the East Anglian Daily Times came to visit the museum’s First World War Exhibition, ‘Braintree District at War – 1914-1918’, and to interview our Collections and Interpretation Officer. The result was a double-page spread featuring some of the key stories from the exhibition including the munitions work of Crittalls and the death of Thomas Hammon from Rayne.
11th September 2014 – Fantastic Five Summer Activities (Braintree and Witham Times)
Over the summer holidays Braintree District Museum ran a summer club of activities called ‘Fantastic Five’. Featured in this article were two of our sports-related activities – a session with Braintree Football Club looking at the differences between sport in Victorian times and today, and a cheerleading workshop.
On Sunday 11th May Braintree was host to an exciting event – the Warner Textile Archive’s fourth annual Textile Fair. Activities took place across three historic venues, the Warner Textile Archive, Braintree Town Hall and Braintree District Museum. The museum welcomed over 350 visitors. We hosted the fair’s exciting talk program, and entry to all the museum’s galleries and exhibitions was included in the ticket price, with a particular focus on our ‘FreeSpirit’ exhibition created by Fashion and Textiles Diploma students from The College at Braintree, inspired by Warner’s designer Eddie Squires. Our permanent exhibitions on the textile firms of Warner & Sons and Courtauld silk manufacturers also proved of particular interest to visitors. Finally, the museum hosted its first ever T-Shirt desgining workshop which proved very popular with visitors. Participants were given a free Textile Fair T-Shirt (kindly donated to the museum by Yum Design) and provided with a range of fabric paints, stencils and pens to create their own personalised design with
The Braintree and Witham Times and the Halstead Gazette are running a regular ‘Memories’ section highlighing historic photographs and stories from the museum and local residents. Below is one of the articles featuring the msueum’s photographs.
Jennifer Brown, Collections and Interpertation Officer at the museum, received the following email:
“I have written about the Museum for the parish mag of the parish I was rector of before retiring last year. As you get a mention, I thought you would like to see it. I hope that the funny bits make you smile!”
We were pleased to see press coverage of our latest exhibition, ‘Free Spirit’ in the East Anglian Daily Times! Please see the article below, which was published on page 12 of the paper on the 31st March 2014.
‘Free Spirit’ is an exhibition by students on the Fashion and Textiles Diploma at the College at Braintree and features wallpaper and dress designs. These designs have been inspired by the 1960s works of Eddie Squires, designer for Warners. Some of Squires’ iconic designs are also on display.
The exhibition will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm from 1st April to 22nd May 2014. Check out our ‘What’s On’ pages for more information.
A very exciting new event took place at Braintree District Museum on the 15th March – Science Saturday! As part of National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) 2014 the museum organized a day of science themed activities. Our main science activities took place in our dedicated John Ray gallery, with 4 activity tables and 4 main themes on the activity trail: Exploring the Natural World, Recording the Natural World, Fossils and Human Senses and the Brain. We were also very pleased to host a fascinating display by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society, and we ran two popular fossil-casting sessions run by Lisa Smith of ‘The Laboratory’.