Colchester, an historic town nestled in the Essex countryside, has a long and rich heritage. As Britain’s First City and former capital of Roman Britain, its history dates back over 2,000 years. Today, the town is a flourishing place to live and work and its heritage remains at the heart of the community.
Colchester Museums are guardians of much of this heritage, which includes nationally important collections, artefacts, and historic buildings, including Colchester Castle (Europe’s largest Norman Keep), the Natural History Museum and Hollytrees Museum.
The Colchester Museums Development Foundation (CMDF) is a new charity that has been created to work alongside Colchester Museums to strengthen its place within the local community by supporting the preservation, exploration, and sharing of the town’s heritage, of which Colcestrians are fiercely proud.
The Foundation will drive income into the museums, to help develop greater educational programmes for the borough’s children, provide new exhibitions, fund research and acquisitions, and support and inform new initiatives for the benefit of the whole community.
Plans are currently underway for CMDF and Colchester Museums to work together to refurbish the town’s much-loved Natural History Museum. Working together with the people of Colchester, the Foundation aims to help raise funds for the project and ensure the new look Natural History Museum meets the needs of its visitors for future generations.
To support projects such as this, CMDF is looking for individuals and organisations to help raise funds and support the Foundation. Getting involved can be tailored to personal circumstances and options range from putting spare change into a donation box at one of Colchester’s Museums, to volunteering time, purchasing a Colchester Museums Guardian Membership, becoming a corporate member, making a one-off donation and even by leaving a legacy donation in a will. CMDF Guardian Memberships are discounted until 1 September 2021.
The Foundation has already begun forging links within the local community – securing support from Veg Trug for its Museum From Home programme, support from the Arnold Clark Foundation and Virgin Media 02 Together Fund for education programmes at Hollytrees Museum and the Natural History Museum, and support from Kerseys Solicitors for an upcoming exhibition. The Foundation looks forward to working with more businesses in the future.
Councillor Darius Laws, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Business and Heritage, said: “Preserving our town’s heritage is of utmost importance. Ensuring Colchester Museums sit firmly at the heart of our local community, through its educational programme and the accessibility of its collections is so important. These collections are part of our community and belong to all of us.
“Colchester Museums are the guardians of over 2,000 years of history, but we must all work together to preserve this legacy for future generations to enjoy and share and, therefore, I have pledged my personal support by becoming a Life Member of the foundation.”
Individuals can find out more and donate online now by visiting Colchester Museums Development Foundation
Page last reviewed: 3 August 2021