What would you like to see at Saffron Walden Museum?

A NEW consultation will let the public help shape the future of the museum service in Uttlesford.

Plans to develop the museum service are progressing, with proposals for a new storage facility at Uttlesford District Council’s depot in Newport.

But this new facility, which will solve the museum’s pressing storage issues, is only one part of the development project.

The council and Saffron Walden Museum Society are also formulating proposals to improve the museum and its grounds to make it an even better place to visit.

Public consultation starts today (Monday December 12), giving everyone the opportunity to say what they think about the museum and how they would like to see it developed.

Cabinet members for community partnerships and engagement, Cllr Howard Rolfe, is the council’s lead member Saffron Walden Museum.

He said: “These are exciting times for Saffron Walden Museum and we need your help in shaping its future. By taking part in this consultation you can help make sure the improvements are focused on what museum visitors are really interested in. “It is no secret that local government is going through tough times and it is very important that we make the available budget work as hard as it can for the good of the museum service. The decisions we make now about the museum will shape its future for many years to come.”

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Chairman of Saffron Walden Museum Society, Tony Watson, said: “The building of a new storage facility at Newport gives an excellent opportunity to reassess what the museum has to offer for visitors of all ages and interests. At the moment, only 15 per cent of the collections can be exhibited at one time.

“The new store will give museum staff much better access to the extensive collections that are currently difficult to display.

“The new store will be funded by the council and museum society, which means we can focus a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund on making the museum itself the best possible place for people to visit.”

Museum Curator Carolyn Wingfield said: “We want to know what people like about the museum and what else they would like to see.

“The survey covers everything from which days of the week people are most likely to visit, including the possibility of occasional evening opening, to the types of exhibits that could be on display and what improvements to visitor facilities people would most like to see.

“Whether you are a regular visitor to the museum or someone who has only ever visited once, we really do want to hear from you.”

The consultation is being conducted via a questionnaire, which you can easily complete at any time by visiting uttlesford.gov.uk/museumsurvey. If you don’t have access to the internet, paper copies are available from the museum, the district council offices in London Road, Saffron Walden, the Community Information Centre in Thaxted and the district council’s customer service desk at Dunmow Library.

Alternatively, call the council’s consultation team on 01799 510670 to request a copy.

The consultation closes on Friday January 13.