Epping Forest District and World War One Community Cabinet Project

Francesca Pellegrino, Audience Development Officer, Epping Forest District Museum

Epping Forest District Museum is one of the Museums selected to receive funding and be part of the Share Museums East Community Cabinet project.

The team were really excited about the project and were keen to use the opportunity to explore and reach out to parts of the district that don’t always access the Museum due to travel limitation etc. Our community cabinet will be displayed in Epping Civic Offices as the Museum is currently closed for a Heritage Lottery Fund Redevelopment.

Our first project was working to help document the links between the district and World War One. The Museum does have a selection of World War One objects within the collection but we felt it was important to discover any other stories, memories or objects that people had and make a record of these.

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As part of the project the team have been going out and about into the district, holding Heritage Events in various venues for people to drop in with anything they might have to share with us. The objects will be recorded and stories documented and these records will become part of the Museum’s collection.  These objects will then form our first Community Cabinet display in the reception of the Civic Offices in Epping.

Our first event took place at Budworth Hall in Ongar on Saturday 21st June. The event was run alongside the Ongar Millennium History Society and we had around 100 people turn up on the day to hear about our project, the Museum’s redevelopment and see some of the objects on display from the History Society and bring along objects and stories for us to document. Hearing the stories and seeing the objects was a special experience for the team, both

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fascinating and emotional. It was great for the Museum team to be able to document some of these stories. One gentleman had objects and papers relating to his uncle and father who both came from Ongar and fought in the First World War. On the right you can see his father’s discharge papers.

Moving forward we hope to work towards a more co-production based programme. This is a long term project for us and once the Museum reopens the cabinet will be displayed within the Museum and be an opportunity to have groups access the collection, which will all be on site, and create all aspects of the displays themselves. Co-production is a really exciting way for this project to progress and something we are really looking forward to. We are also working on a co-production mini exhibition as part of the Take Over Day initiative where students will curate and produce all aspects of a small travelling case exhibition.The team are now working on the display which will be open ready for the anniversary of the start of World War One on 4th August.

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