National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to boost museum's plans for future
PUBLISHED: 08:57 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 20 March 2019
Saffron Walden Museum has been awarded a grant of £51,200 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The museum will use the grant to undertake studies and commission work to determine the best way of improving the museum, and to attract more people to the site, which it shares with the ruins of Walden Castle.
The museum, which serves the whole of Uttlesford, is housed in its original purpose-built building, opened in 1835.
Curator Carolyn Wingfield said: “While it is wonderful to work in such an historic museum, with fantastic collections, there are many challenges in such an old building, and also opportunities to explore with the National Lottery funding.
“We need to make some major changes and attract more visitors. The grant is a terrific boost and means we can start planning significant developments with the expert help we will need.”
Councillor Vic Ranger, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Uttlesford District Council, said: “The National Lottery grant is excellent news. Carolyn and her team are to be congratulated for their hard work on the grant bid which culminated in this successful outcome. With increasing pressure on local authority finances, it is very important that the museum can increase its audiences and income, and develop as a well-used and sustainable service.
“I cannot wait to seeing the plans for the developments coming forward – this promises to be another exciting chapter in the museum’s story.”
Saffron Walden Museum Society Ltd, which is a charity, is a partner in the project and contributed £10,000 as match funding.
Museum Society chairman, Tony Watson, said: “This demonstrates the strong partnership between the council and museum society in providing the museum. We are very grateful to the National Lottery and can now look forward to planning the museum’s long-term future and financial resilience.”
The museum, believed to be one of the oldest in the country, is set in an enclosed grass meadow, beside the ruins of the twelfth-century Saffron Walden Castle.
The current exhibition, which runs until May 12, uses archaeology, maps and social history collections to look at the different origins of Uttlesford’s four main towns - Saffron Walden, Thaxted, Great Dunmow and Stansted Mountfichet.