The great hall of the old Literary Institute was lit up and crackling with heat on the evening of November 11th, as many friends and trustees arrived to celebrate Egham Museum’s annual reception.

After a period of refreshments and catching up with old friends, the evening started off with a welcome speech from Chairman of the Egham Museum Trust, Vivian Bairstow. Mr Bairstow talked of how vital it is to have a museum in the local area that, in his words, ‘represents you (the public) and your stories’ – a sentiment which I think we can all agree with, both students and those who have lived in Egham for years. He also gave a touching tribute thanking those who have volunteered there over the years and those who continue to contribute to the successful running of the museum by tirelessly working on exhibitions and uncovering new and interesting facts about the Runnymede area every day. This speech was followed by one from fellow Trustee John Tuck, who commemorated the achievements of Egham Museum, such as the Magna Carta project and the temporary Memories of War project to remember WW1 in 2014. (Pictured below: Chairman Vivian Bairstow.) 

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There was also mention of how the museum is slowly building itself back up again after the terrible flooding which caused it to close in 2014. However, after witnessing the enthusiasm, support and warmth of the patrons that attended the reception, I can safely say that the future of Egham Museum is looking wonderfully bright, partly due to the Patrons Scheme.

The Patrons Scheme, of which more information can be found on the museum website under ‘Patrons’, in which it explains that becoming a Patron will mean that ‘essential ongoing Conservation, Outreach, Research and Exhibition work of the Museum’ will be able to continue and thus improve the museum’s collections and research, as well as helping the museum offer sessions for ‘local schools, care homes and other community groups.’ Becoming a Patron of the museum will allow it to expand and thrive, and you will be fully and gratefully acknowledged for your contribution. (Pictured below: Attendees of the reception.) 

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Future projects include working with Royal Holloway on their Citizens project, with their student’s union on a Floods Anthology project, and excitingly, an insight into Professor Samuel Tolanksy’s contribution to the Apollo project titled Moon Dust in Egham. Alongside these projects, the museum has partnered with Surrey Heritage Centre for their Learning on my Doorstep program, and is looking forward to developing its own project Museum Within Walls, which aims to bring what the museum offers to events and community groups over the summer season. It was then announced that the museum is in the process of moving to an electronic collection database, much to the relief of all volunteers! This will mean visitors as well as those that work at the museum will be able to search for further information quickly and much more enjoyably.

This was followed by an introduction by David Barker to the HLF-funded Migration and Memory project, which focused upon the Bronze Age heritage in the Runnymede area. The reception was the premiere of the new Bronze Age documentary, project-managed and directed by Bill Thisdell and illustrated by Simon Clarke. The documentary is a brilliantly insightful look into the excavation of Bronze Age sites in Runnymede, and interweaves interviews with archaeologists working on the Bronze Age excavation with animations showing in further detail what the interviewees explained, making it perfect for both adults and children to learn more about that period of time and the history of Runnymede. (Screenshot below.
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The screening of the documentary was a great success, with many congratulating all that worked on the project and asking further questions afterwards. The documentary will be screened at more locations in the future, but for now it can be seen on the Egham Museum website and the adjoining Youtube page, and is definitely highly recommended for all! (Screenshot below.)

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The museum’s curator, Sarah Corn, then gave a tour of the museum, as can be seen below. 

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Once the reception had finished, many attendees lingered to mingle with others in the hall and discuss the development of the museum and what was said in the speeches, which lent a lovely sense of something to look forward to and amplified the atmosphere of geniality that had permeated the evening. Overall, the reception was a great success and a wonderful opportunity to hear about the vision Egham Museum is aiming towards: ‘An independent charitable museum for all, valued by our diverse local community and at the heart of our cultural lives.’


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