Mark your new calendars - The Romans are coming to Ely Museum this January!
On Saturday 27th January, Roman re-enactors from Britannia will share displays of science, craft and medicine and you can hear what life may have been like in the Roman army. Will you make it into the Praetorian Guards (The Emperor’s personal bodyguard)?
Come and chat to the Roman soldiers, speak to the Roman women and Iron Age people of 1st century AD Britain.
27th January, 11am – 4pm
Normal admission charges apply. Free for Annual Pass holders.
Happy New Year from everyone at Ely Museum! We are open today from 10.30am until 5pm and would love to welcome you back in 2024.
If you are looking for a new challenge for 2024, then why not join our team?
There is only one week left to apply for the three roles available at Ely Museum.
Find out more and apply at https://www.elymuseum.org.uk/job-vacancies/
It's Christmas Eve and the Christmas T-Rex and everyone at Ely Museum wishes you a very Merry Christmas.
It's 23rd December and the Christmas T-Rex is enjoying the wintery weather.
It's 22nd December and the Christmas T-Rex has made friends with the Chris-mouse and the Christmas Crow!
Ely Museum is now closed for the festive season. We look forward to seeing you all again from 2nd of January! Merry Christmas.
The Christmas T-Rex would like to let you know that today is your last chance to visit Ely Museum until the new year. We are closed from 5pm today until 2nd January.
Ely Museum is recruiting two new members of staff as part of our ‘Resilience Through Our Collections’ NLHF-funded project. A Marketing and Events Project Officer and a Collections Project Officer.
Resilience Through Our Collections is a two year project, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, that will focus on improving organisational sustainability and resilience, whilst ensuring that collections are at the centre of everything the museum does.
The Christmas T-Rex is learning all about Roman coins today. Did you know a hoard of Roman coins was found on the north side of Ely and is now on display at Ely Museum?
It's 19th December and the Christmas T-Rex is admiring the Napoleonic trophy armour and learning all about the Littleport Riots.
Ely Museum is recruiting a Senior Project Officer (Maternity leave cover).
If you have a passion for museum collections and the skills to share them with others, through exhibitions, events and marketing then this could be the role for you.
We are looking for a creative and organised individual, with strong leadership skills, to join our small and dedicated team. You will lead the delivery of the new NLHF funded project, ‘Resilience through our collections’ focusing on temporary exhibitions, collections, marketing, events and audience development.
This role is a great chance to join the team at a thriving museum and will suit a person who enjoys working with collections and driving more visitors to the museum. There is great scope for the right candidate to learn and develop within this role, depending on their own interests and skills.
Ely Museum is an independent museum that tells the story of the landscape of the local area and the lives of people who have lived there. We have full Arts Council Accreditation and have recently undergone a redevelopment, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
With a strong interest in heritage and museums, you’ll be an excellent communicator who enjoys working with collections and creating exhibitions. Self-motivated and reliable, with experience of marketing and the ability to lead a small project team.
We are passionate about Ely Museum and the local area and hope that this inspires you too.
22.5 hours per week (days negotiable) to include occasional weekend and evening working.
Fixed term for 9 months, with possibility of extension.
£27,000k pa pro rata (Actual pay £12,150 for 9 months).
It's the 18th December and the Christmas T-Rex is planning his festive feasting. What vegetable do you think he is harvesting?
Oooh shiny. The Christmas T-Rex is admiring the East Cambridgeshire Gold Torc today. It really wouldn't fit a dinosaur as small as him!
The Christmas T-Rex is spending 16th December learning about the landscape of the fens using our 3D map. Look at how the towns and villages used to be on islands.
It's 15th December and the Christmas T-Rex is dressing up in our Anglo-Saxon costumes. Did you know we have both adult and child dressing up in the museum gallery? We love seeing pictures of you wearing them so please tag us on social media if you share photos.
It's December 14th and the Christmas T-Rex is making friends with the Gaol mouse!
The Christmas T-Rex is spending December 13th locked up in The Old Gaol!
There are still a few tickets available for our December Little Explorers.
This afternoon 3.30-5pm is Quiet Hours at Ely Museum.
For a trial period we are moving our Quiet Hours to the afternoon of the second Wednesday of the month. We're keen to hear from visitors about when is a good time to offer Quiet Hours. If this is something that is helpful to you or your family please speak to us when you visit as we are keen to review our provision and keep it useful.
It's 12th of December and the Christmas T-Rex is marvelling at the size of a mammoth tooth.
It's December 11th and the Christmas T-Rex is having a quiet day after his busy weekend. He's having a rest and watching the Tales from the Fens stories in our gallery.
Father Christmas is at Ely Museum TODAY!
You don't need to book, tickets are £5 per child and sold on the door and accompanying adults are free. 10.30am-1pm and 1.30pm-4.pm.
With a fun trail around the museum and a tombola, its a great festive day out.
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Looking for something fun to do this half-term?
Ely Museum tells the story of the unique fenland landscape and the story of the people who shaped it. From dinosaurs to drainage, fossils and fen skates - our award winning museum tells the story of our region through hands on, engaging exhibitions, with something for all ages to enjoy.
Our explorer chest is filled with all the things you need to explore the museum & where you can also find lots of fun museum trails to enjoy too.
You can also join us tomorrow, Thursday 16th February for February Half Term Crafts: Myths & Monsters too and enjoy some fun, drop in crafts. Tickets will be sold on the door & are £3 per child + your usual admission ticket/annual pass
Father Christmas is back at Ely Museum today until 4pm! Come and say hello, share your wish list & receive a special gift too 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻
Father Christmas is here at Ely Museum until 4pm today & from 10:30-4 tomorrow, on Sunday!
No need to book, just drop in. Tickets are £5 per child & include a special gift from Father Christmas too 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻
Ely Museum opened to the public in the historic Bishops Gaol on the 26th April 1997
You could originally find Ely Museum in the former Choir School of Ely Cathedral at the Sacrist Gate, where we opened in 1975!
In what is now the Octagon Studios Performing Arts Centre, the original Ely Museum was opened with a small team of dedicated volunteers led by local man, Dennis Adams. It seemed particularly relevant today on our ‘second’ 22nd birthday to share some images from the grand opening of that museum!
Following our big move, the museum moved into the Old Gaol, reopening to the public in April 1997 by local archivist and historian, Mike Petty MBE
The earliest documentary reference to our Old Gaol building is from 1417 when a survey was carried out to settle a dispute over property ownership between a Bishop and Prior, though archaeological evidence suggests our building was originally built in the 13th Century. The tenant of our building in 1417 was listed as Thomas Hakwrong, though unfortunately we don’t know more about him.
We know that by the 17th Century, Bishop Peter Gunning, who was Bishop of Ely Cathedral between 1674 and 1684, set about tackling the issue of the former Bishops Gaol, previously in Barton that had fallen into a state of disorder and disrepair. You can read more about in our post here: http://bit.ly/2UX53GF
With considerable authority to maintain law and order in Ely, Gunning purchased a private house on the corner of what we now know as Lynn Road & Market Street in 1679 and set about creating a new gaol.
Following some remodelling and an extension, including the addition of a walled exercise yard, this building became the new Bishops Gaol.
After visiting the gaol in 1836, the Inspector of Prisons found Ely Gaol to be ‘most inefficient’ and the gaoler, Benjamin Barlow to be ‘respectable, but old and physically incompetent’. In that same year, an Act was passed to extinguish the secular jurisdiction of archbishops, and so the gaol was closed and prisoners moved on to Cambridge County Prison. Sadly, prisoners were also kept in terrible conditions at Ely Gaol, which also contributed to its eventual closure. You can read more about Bishop Matthias Mawson who oversaw a terrible period of the gaol’s history in our post here: http://bit.ly/2GJzQOQ
While sadly there are no pictures of the gaol as it originally was, we can see many reminders of the prisons who wiled away their time whilst in the gaol through the graffiti they left behind in the gaol Bishop Gunning commissioned.
In 1842, the Ely Mechanics Institute was established in the gaol which housed their meetings and their library. Their librarian, Mr Marshall Fisher, also lived in the building, and from 1849, Mr Fisher and another member, Mr Bard, kept their own museum in the building too! As an amateur scientist and enthusiastic collector of natural history artefacts, Mr Fisher curated and displayed his collections at the museum until his death in 1899, aged 92!
In 1904, many of the Diocesan records, which were originally stored in the tower of the Bishops Palace, now part of the King's Ely campus, by Bishop Alcock, were transferred to the Old Gaol and a custodian moved into the building to care for them and to provide a reading room. These archives were stored at the Old Gaol until 1962 when they were moved to their current location at the Cambridge University Library
From October 1973 until March 1974 the building was used as the headquarters of East Cambridgeshire District Council and by that summer, in July 1974, the first floor of the gaol was used by the City of Ely Council Chamber as office space with the cells used as storage rooms and the ground floor of the building used as the offices of the Registrar for births, deaths and marriages!
Did you know we sometimes get visitors who tell us about how they were married or registered the births of their children in the museum?
By 1995 the council had moved to new premises and plans were drawn to move the museum from our original High Street site to our current building.
Now with a larger building and more space, the collection at Ely Museum expanded and we were able to display more objects, as well as share the story of the Old Gaol with the public!
Did you know that the collections you see on display at Ely Museum today originate from Vernon Cross' passion for the arts & his love of curious things? As a local baker, talented ventriloquist and curio collector, Vernon Cross was successful and well respected businessman and councillor for Ely. You can learn more about Vernon Cross and his service during World War One in our post here: http://bit.ly/2WbJCi0
In January 2019, we shared the brilliant news that Ely Museum had been awarded a grant of £1.66 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our project to unlock the potential of the Old Gaol!
We’re hoping to temporarily close the museum in September 2019, reopening in the autumn of 2020 with an amazing new museum which celebrates the history and people of the Fens in a building which showcases the beautiful historic features of the gaol, and also provides 21st century facilities and galleries! You can read more about our exciting announcement here: http://bit.ly/2vlBmQv and we hope to be able to share more plans and images of how the museum will look with you all soon!