Friends Newsletter Extract: Summer 2016

What was happening at the museum?

May Half-Term

Be a Soldier for the Day! – Tuesday 31st May 2016

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dress up as a Household Cavalry soldier? March up to the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum on Tuesday 31st May and wear the Household Cavalry kit worn on ceremonial duties since Victorian times. Try on the jackboots, breastplates and helmets and stand to attention whilst hearing stories from ex-soldiers on what it’s like being a soldier escorting the Queen.

Digging Up the Past! – Thursday 2nd June 2016

If you’ve ever hoped to unearth buried treasure or prehistoric fossils whilst digging in the garden, make haste to the Museum on Thursday 2nd June. Here you’ll have the opportunity to become an archaeologist for an hour or two and dig up long-lost artefacts.

You’ll have to dig carefully though, because you might just come across a very sharp tooth from a very ancient creature.

Both events: £2.00 entry per child or £1.00 with an Advantage Card. Sessions will run from 10:30-12:30 and 13:30-15:30. Tel 01628 685686 for more information.

Instagram and the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum You can now follow the Museum on Instagram.

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Chairman’s Newletter

Chairman Malcolm Locke was stepping down from the role and this was his last newletter.

Dear Friends

As this is the last time I will be writing to you as Chair, I thought it would be appropriate to consider what had been achieved in the past four years, what might have been done, and what the future may hold.

Since the museum opened in 2011 the Friends has made a number of contributions towards its smooth running. With agreement from the membership, the appeal fund, originally intended to raise money for a suitable building, was used to pay for items within the museum itself. We helped to pay for the Saxon gold, a new ‘Click Netherfield’ case and provided financial assistance for several other projects. These include the renovation of the four dioramas which are on rotational display in the museum and even paid for the cake to mark the opening of the Sydney Camm exhibition in March. We are also holding a substantial sum to pay for a new donations and comments module currently being designed by PLB, the company responsible for the initial museum installation. There have been a number of delays with this but we hope to see it installed during 2016.

As a registered charity it has been possible for us to apply for grants from various bodies which were not available to the RBWM and we were successful in helping with the funding of the Magna Carta celebrations. At the same time we have had a very successful run of talks with the move to Dedworth being popular. The issuing of a programme card helped to advertise the events, even if we did have to change a few around! Also well received were the Denis Blandford Christmas cards.

Other projects include Windsor Footsteps, our mobile phone based walking tour around the centre of town, now superseded by the Queen’s Walkway, as well as the writing of the Amberley Books Windsor Through Time. Members have also been persuaded to write copy for the Newsletter which has greatly helped Pam in making it an interesting and relevant little journal.

My own personal triumph was the erection of the plaque to Sir Daniel Gooch at the Central Station following a great deal of negotiation with the Royal Borough, Network Rail and Windsor Royal Shopping. The great man now has a permanent memorial in his adopted town and we are planning a Gooch exhibition in August to mark the bicentenary of his birth. I hope many of you will visit.

On a less positive note, I have not had much success in attracting new members or drawing together all those now assisting with the running of the museum, namely the volunteers, the Working Group, and the Friends themselves. We all have our own reasons for getting involved and it has proved difficult to link the groups together and for us to see ourselves as a cohesive whole.

You will all have received a letter recently explaining the problems which are facing your ever-diminishing committee. Many groups like ours have difficulty in attracting members, especially those prepared to serve on a committee, with the result that they are folding at the very time that government cuts are leading to widespread closure of libraries and museums.

With no-one to stand up in defence of these invaluable institutions, it is even easier for councils to dispense with them. I am not suggesting that RBWM has plans to do any such thing at present but who knows what might happen in years to come.

I would therefore urge you to come along to our AGM and offer support to those committee members who are prepared to continue in post and to join them. For a variety of reasons Gloria and I feel unable to carry on in our present roles but rest assured we will continue to offer help from the sidelines if the Friends future is assured.

With all best wishes                                                  Malcolm

Museum Open

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Windsor & Royal Borough Museum

Windsor Guildhall, High Street, Windsor SL4 1LR

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Get Online: Digital Archive

Windsor Bridge Copyright STP

Although the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum is temporarily closed because of the corona virus pandemic, you can still access some 200 objects online. They are available under 8 broad-range topics; click on the links below:

Archaeology and Ancient

Art and Prints

Building and Architecture

Childhood and School

Homelife and Leisure

Military and Armed Forces

Transport and Aviation

Working Life and Trade

The Museum

Museum and Guildhall with Market Cross (Crooked House) next door

Under normal circumstances the W&RB Museum would be open, staffed, and ready to welcome all visitors of every age. Sadly, like many other heritage and cultural attractions, the museum is temporarily closed. Below is short description of the museum, and there are plenty of online activities and podcasts you can use until we open again.

The Windsor & Royal Borough Museum is a registered/accredited, family-friendly and accessible small local history museum in a Grade 1 listed building completed in 1689. Come and discover the history of the town and the area. Listen to the stories of people who lived and worked here.

The collection relates to the history of Windsor, and other towns and villages across the Borough in East Berkshire. The museum has on display a selection of some of the many objects from the collection including a100,000 year old mammoth’s tusk, pre-historic tools, Bronze Age, Roman and Saxon artefacts, together with objects and ephemera from before Victorian times up to World War II, the 1950s and the present day.

The museum is staffed at all times and supported by a team of volunteer stewards, and also The Friends of the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum.  Please ask staff on duty if you require curatorial advice

Tours and groups welcome.

You can also view a 360 virtual tour of the Windsor Guildhall and the Museum.  Here you can see the grand Council Chamber, and the Ascot Room where Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles were married.

Windsor and Royal Borough Museum’s new ‘Out and About’ podcast series from the oral history collection, because who best to tell you about Windsor than Windsorians themselves?  So make a drink and join them on their journey into times gone by. You can listen to it here or find it on Spotify by searching ‘Out and About in Windsor’.