Peter Minta, curator of Saxmundham Museum speaks out about both the challenges that the museum has been faced with in 2020 and the achievements that he is proud of…
After so much hard work over the winter, it was devastating that the initial Lockdown was announced just a couple of weeks before our planned opening for the season. In March, we were looking forward to our annual preview evening but the prospect of opening with a small gathering of 50 people quickly dissolved into the national lockdown! However, due to the diligence and support of the committee members, we were able to open the Museum, on a limited basis, from mid July. In fact we were one of only a handful of Museums in Suffolk to open their doors this year, something for which we are justifiably proud.
We opened on Friday and Saturday mornings from 17th July to people from the same family or social bubble, with a small band of our volunteers ensuring that everyone their visit. Our initial Covid policy document quickly evolved from a single sheet of A4 to several pages, reflecting the changing guidance. We bought hand sanitiser, a non-contact thermometer, masks, gloves, cleansing wipes and a contactless payment device. A contact tracing system was created and above all we had a sense of ‘doing the right thing’. We thank everyone for their help and commitment to following our Covid-19 policy – committee members, volunteers and visitors.
Unfortunately, after the storms of late September, the Museum suffered flooding that meant we had to close our season early. Well positioned buckets collected most of the water, at one point assisted by some pond liner! The removal of furniture ensured that no damage was done to any of our shop stock, exhibits or collections. The roof is now repaired and one of our winter projects will be to redecorate the front room.
Let’s hope 2021 brings us better fortune and we can welcome you all back to Saxmundham Museum for a bumper season.