Windsor & Royal Borough Museum first opened to the public on 12 March 2011. Now, ten years on, we are celebrating this milestone with a new exhibition on the Corn Market of Windsor Guildhall. It showcases objects and stories we have collected over the last ten years; highlights the dedication of people who have made the museum a success; and asks for the help of our local community in creating a relevant museum collection for future generations. 

The exhibition is the culmination of months of hard work from the museum team. It is also part of a plan to use our 10-year birthday celebration as an opportunity to consult with our community on how we can better serve them in the future. 

The exhibition on the corn market of Windsor Guildhall
The exhibition on the corn market of Windsor Guildhall

At the beginning of the exhibition, we tell the story of how our collection was established by a local resident in 1951 and formed part of an exhibition at Windsor Guildhall until 1982. Our collection then went into storage and remained there until residents formed the Friends of Windsor & Royal Borough Museum and campaigned for a permanent museum to open in Windsor. The exhibition celebrates the dedication of the Friends as well as the achievements of our volunteers over the last decade. 

We hope that these community stories will encourage residents to think about how they can help us to create a museum that is relevant to them, whether that is through donating items or collaborating on future projects. Museums are a safe space for communities to reflect upon their shared heritage and have informed conversations about contemporary issues. This is what we strive for our museum to be. We want it to be a space that represents the community. 

As part of this, we are using the exhibition to encourage the community to donate their memories to our contemporary collecting project called the Royal Borough Memory Box. We hope to collect items that represent the people of the Royal Borough in the early 21st century, including stories and objects related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope the exhibition will offer inspiration as to the type of items and stories that residents could share with us. 

Indeed, the exhibition showcases objects donated since 2011 to explore a multitude of stories related to the Royal Borough’s past. You will learn about the history of local crafts, one local family’s amusing encounter with Queen Victoria, the story of the emotional connection between a First World War soldier and his service bible, and much more. Many of these stories, however, are only remembered because local people entrusted us with their mementos. We hope the exhibition will demonstrate how you can continue this legacy. 

Across the exhibition panels, we also explore how important ephemeral items are in gaining an understanding of everyday life in the past. We truly believe that your ordinary is our extraordinary, and we hope the exhibition will give residents confidence that their everyday stories matter to us and will be important to future generations. 

Our collecting tree contains topic ideas for items that residents could donate related to the Covid-19 pandemic
Our collecting tree contains topic ideas for items that residents could donate related to the Covid-19 pandemic

The exhibition is free and available to visit anytime until the end of June, but please remember to follow social distancing guidelines. We also encourage you to scan the various QR codes on the panels. You will be able to listen to residents tell you about the history of the Royal Borough and even watch a virtual tour of Windsor Guildhall.

If you would like to find out more information about donating an item to the Royal Borough Memory Box please click here

The exhibition and memory box project also featured in a recent Windsor & Eton Express article, which you can read here

Becky Tabrar
Museum, Arts & Local Studies Officer

Windsor & Royal Borough Museum Team Photo

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The Windsor and Royal Borough Museum is a family friendly museum bursting with interesting facts and interactive displays of East Berkshire.

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