The public has chosen a Chocolate Worm Cake tin from the Museum of East Anglian Life as Suffolk Museum Object of the Year 2019.
The Object of the Year competition is part of the Suffolk Museum of the Year Awards which celebrate and champion the county’s incredible museums and the hard work and dedication of their staff and volunteers.
With an intriguing name and a curious and attractive design, a Chocolate Worm Cake was actually a lot less glamourous than the label suggests. Chocolate Worm Cakes were used to treat tape worm infestations in humans, especially children.
Individual cakes would be purchased straight from the tin and therefore it would have to be eye-catching on the shelf. The tin is from circa 1905 and is from a chemist shop in Ipswich called J. Threadkell which ran from 1890-1972.
The Chocolate Worm Cake tin received 41% of 722 votes, followed by a surgical trolley from Palace House, Newmarket: The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in second place with 30% of the public vote, with the other five nominated objects getting the rest of the votes.
MEAL Collections Volunteer Rose Norris who nominated the object, said: “This object makes people stop and think – perhaps turning a few noses up to start with. It provides a solid link to the local businesses in our area and gives us an insight into people’s lives of the past … warts and all!”
Jayne Austin, Suffolk Museum Development and Partnership Manager, said: “The worm cakes attracted a lot of interest and sparked some interesting conversations. The Object of the Year Award really celebrates the treasured collections that are at the heart of our museums. They may be precious, moving, quirky or amusing, but all have a story to tell.”
To decide the Object of the Year winner, members of the public could vote online from a shortlist of seven objects from seven museums, nominated by volunteers from our county’s museums:
- The Augsberg Clock – Moyse’s Hall Museum
- Hawstead Panels – Ipswich Museum
- Tin of Chocolate Worm Cakes – Museum of East Anglian Life
- British WW2 Experimental Cruise Visor steel helmet – Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum
- Viking Side Rudder – Southwold Museum
- Bone Key – West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village
- Surgical Trolley – National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art.
Previous winning objects have included the dwile flonking trophy at Halesworth and District Museum and a draft manuscript of the poem, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ by Wilfred Owen from the Red House in Aldeburgh.