Museum welcomes visitors back with new exhibition

Saffron Walden Museum opens its door to visitors from Thursday 20 May with a new exhibition - Man and Beast.

The museum has achieved 'We're Good To Go' status from Visit England for Covid-safety standards and visitors will be welcomed at the door by a member of staff.

Man and Beast explores the central role which animals have played in the lives of humans, not only as sources of food and materials, but also in culture, art, religion and folklore. A wide range of objects and specimens, including many from the museum's stores, have been brought together to examine the role which dogs and horses, snakes and bees, raptors, insects and cows have played in our lives over thousands of years. Visitors can find out about the history of edible insects, how an Iron Age pet dog was buried near Stansted Airport, and the role which birds of prey have played in many cultures through the ages down to our own day.

Elsewhere in the galleries, visitors can take a 'selfie' with the figure of a Stone Age woman, and there will be a new museum guide booklet available to download from the museum's website or purchased pre-printed in the museum. The museum shop is now equipped for cashless transactions, so visitors can pay for souvenirs by card.

Curator Carolyn Wingfield said: "We are really looking forward to having visitors back in the galleries again, and excited to be showing them some new exhibits as well as familiar favourites. There will be more news on new acquisitions later in the summer."

Cllr Alex Armstrong, Uttlesford District Council's portfolio holder with responsibility for the museum, said: "Saffron Walden Museum and its collections are for the whole district of Uttlesford and it is so important that local people have access to their heritage again after months of lockdown. The museum and castle site is also a wonderful place for friends and families to meet outdoors."

Visits must be pre-booked online via the Art Tickets link on the museum's website and visitors should wear face coverings (unless exempt). Wallace the Lion has helped to mark out the gallery floors with pawmarks at two-metre intervals for visitors' safety, and there will be plenty of hand sanitiser stations and other measures to ensure a safe and welcoming experience for visitors.

Admission prices are £2.50 for adults, £1.25 for concessions and children under 18 are free. The museum will be open initially Thursdays to Saturdays from 11am to 4.30pm, and on Sundays from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, but hopes to extend its opening hours later in the summer.

10 May 2021