Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Merry Christmas from Burwell Museum and Windmill!

Not much else to say at this time of year, really - I'm spending this month tidying the filing cabinet, which wouldn't make for thrilling reading...
Best wishes, and thank you for your support in 2018,

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

End of year report

We've had a great year, and to celebrate we've put together a report of what we've been up to and what we plan to do next. Comments and questions welcome!

In 2018…
We had at least 3715 visitors  (up from 3573 last year and 3371 in 2016). We collected 380 evaluation forms and they showed that 84% of visitors would be very likely to recommend us to others. Many also specifically mentioned helpful, knowledgeable and/or friendly volunteers.
Volunteer work
4,184 hours logged so far this year – many thanks for signing in and out! Work done in 2018 has included:
Mill maintenance including fitting new stones and tun
Site maintenance including painting ploughs and doors, general maintenance of lawns
Vintage vehicles work on Holsman and Austin, redisplay of smaller items
Dorothy Grainger exhibition
Photo digitisation and revamp of newspaper cuttings
Checking light and pest levels
Front of house – tea room, kiosk and windmill
School and group visits

Opening weekend and Easter Egg Hunt:      327 visitors  
National Mills Weekend:                                628 visitors 
Classsic Car day                                                88 visitors     
Summer Fete                                                   70 visitors (estimate) 
Children’s holiday activities                          384 visitors + October
Tea and talks                                                    85 visitors
Heritage Open Days                                        271 visitors
Funded projects
Tea room refurbishment and card reader system – Cambridgeshire County Council £500
Mill for All Seasons – Heritage Lottery Fund £7000 this year
Evaluation – SHARE museums East £500
Co-op fund for new paths – amount to be decided, collecting in November
Parish Council support for Heritage Open Days £200

Plans for the winter
Vintage Vehicles project – costumes for mannekins and Austen 7
Make all exhibits which contain asbestos safe for the public and for volunteers
Arts award project with Burwell Village College
Classes on Thursdays for Newmarket U3A  (starting in January, French conversation and crafts)
Linda research on the history of the museum
Tidy up including sheds, workshop and builders store
Possible aims for the next three years (covered by the forward plan which we will be writing over the winter)
Make the museum easier to maintain
Make the museum easier to run on open days
Create closer links with the school and other community groups
Continue to record, protect and improve our collections
Generate enough income to keep the museum running without regular grant funding

What else do you think should be here? What would you like to know? Where would you like the museum to be in 3 years’ time?

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Tea and Talks programme for the Autumn

Now that the summer holidays have finished and the rain (which mysteriously always seems to prefer Thursdays when we're running children's activities) has stopped again, I can attempt to follow my original plan of updating people on our news at the start of each month. At the moment I'm really excited about our Tea and Talks programme, which has some great speakers (and free biscuits, once you've paid to get in):
Once we've finished those and heritage open days (see the last blog post), we just have October half term and the volunteers' tea party and end of season meeting to go. Many thanks to everyone who has supported us so far, and we hope to see you at something before the end of the season!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Heritage Open Days 15 and 16 September

We're putting the finishing touches to our plans for Heritage Open Days on the 15th and 16th of September (well, that's my excuse for having spent large amounts of time this morning researching local cheese...). We're offering free entry to the museum and mill for the whole weekend, opening as usual from 11am to 5pm with last entry at 4pm. We've persuaded 5 of our volunteers to give talks on their areas of expertise, so the programme looks like this each day:

12pm Paul Hawes     The history of the museum
1pm   Hazel Crane     Dorothy Grainger, local photographer
2pm   Frank Czucha   Memories of Burwell
3pm   Jim Neale         Burwell buses or the Burwell archive
4pm   Steve Crane      Railways in Burwell

We'll also have our storyteller on Sunday, craft activities and hopefully lots of homemade cakes to sell. Heritage Open Days is a really good event to be part of, and I'm really pleased that our exhibition on local photographer Dorothy Grainger fits in so well with their "extraordinary women" theme. We're looking forward to a great weekend!

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Activities for the Great British Summer

Just as the school summer holidays start, I'm sitting in the museum office wearing my coat and watching precisely no visitors wander round a wet, windswept museum... However, that gives me lots of time to let people know about our summer holiday "Museum Explorers" activities, which happen every Thursday in the holidays from 1.30 to 3.30:

Thursday 2 August

Meet the Romans

Did you know that there were Romans in Burwell? Explore what their lives might have been like, test your archaeology skills on real Roman pottery and design your own pot.



Thursday 9 August

The Farming Year

Explore the Barn to find out more about how people would have lived and worked in Burwell when it was mostly a farming community. Dress up, handle our mystery objects and design your own farm.


Thursday 16 August

Burwell at War

Find out how Burwell was affected by the First and Second World Wars in the Nissen Hut and Anderson shelter. Handle objects from both conflicts and create your own medal.


Thursday 23 August

Burwell Life

Visit the upper gallery to find out more about school, shopping and everyday life in Burwell. Try out a new career as a telephonist, shopkeeper or teacher and learn to make a rag rug.


Thursday 30 August

Meet the Mill

Finish the holidays with a visit to the windmill – are you tall enough (at least 1.1m) to climb all the ladders to the top? Don’t worry if not, as there is plenty to do on the ground floor!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Mill for All Seasons project - final review

We're busy finishing off the Mill for All Seasons project, so here is the summary of everything that happened during the project - well done and thank you to all the fantastic volunteers who helped to make the project such a success!

Mill for All Seasons Project progress

June 2017

·         Local groups contacted about outreach, school visits and community exhibition

·         Advertising in place for new volunteers

·         1 new windmill volunteer recruited

 July 2017

·         Outreach sessions: Carers group, Scouts and Beavers, Swavesey WI

·         Press release sent out and interview with Radio Cambridgeshire

August 2017

·         Carers’ drop in session at the museum

·         Day centre outreach talk

·         Windmill box created for use in handling talks and with special school pupils


September 2017

·         Mill workshop for volunteers

·         Visit from Burwell Early Learners

·         Talks for public at Fen Edge Harvest Fair event

·         Top millstone removed in preparation for being replaced

October 2017

·         Burwell brownies outreach and craft session

·         CPD session with teachers from Burwell Village College

·         U3A group visit


November 2017

·         Tractor refurbished and ready to run

·         Two volunteers to a workshop at the National Mills Archive

·         Engage outreach group at library

·         Colourbox nursery visit

·         Burwell village college visit

·         Millwright dressing bedstone

·         Sensory box session with Castle School

December 2017

·         A5 Learning pack prepared and printed
·         Talk to Soham Library Engage group


              January 2018

·         Talk to Top Time group at Newmarket Library 11 Jan

·         First new Millstone arrives

February 2018

·         First draft of exhibition written

·         Visit from Great Wilbraham School 9 Feb

·         Visit from Castle School 19 Feb

March 2018

·         Interim report written

·         Talk at Mildenhall Library 8 Mar

·         Talk at Ely Library 13 Mar

·         Visit from Stretham Primary School 15 Mar

·         Ely local history festival

·         Exhibition opens at Burwell at Large

·         Exhibition to Burwell Library
April 2018

·         Exhibition in Newmarket Library

·         2 new windmill volunteers recruited

·         History Society talk 18 April
·         Visit from Castle School 23 April

·         Visit from Mepal and Witcham School 27 April


May 2018

·         Stall at Reach Fair

·         Talk to Burwell Day Centre

·         Community open weekend 12-13 May attracting 628 visitors, many of them for the first time. Exhibition on display at museum

·         Second new millstone arrives 16 May

·         Visit from Morley Memorial School 23 May

·         Visit from Cambridge Home Educating Families 24 May

·         Visit from Burwell Guides 24 May


June 2018

·         Visit from Stetchworth WI 5 June

·         Burwell Festival late opening 14 June

·         Visit from Castle School 15 June

·         Visit from Newmarket Shine a Light group 18 June

·         Visits from Burwell Village College 27 and 29 June

·         Visit from Burwell House 28 June

·         Evaluation analysed and next steps identified


Monday, 28 May 2018

National mills weekend success and new millstones

We had a fantastic weekend for National Mills weekend, with 628 visitors helping us to smash our original (challenging!) target of 500. We collected stamps from visitors on a picture of the mill to show how many people had been and by the end we had to put them all around the edge! Over 20 volunteers helped to make the weekend happen and we're really grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for making the event and the project possible.

The project is coming to an end now, so we're working on evaluation and the last few school and community groups. Work on the mill continues and we have just welcomed the second of our two new millstones, so watch this space for more information as we repair the tun, work on the brake wheel and the great spur wheel and then turn to the challenge of restoring our external drive.