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About Soham Museum
How we were founded...
Soham Museum began life in June 1998 at a public meeting concerning the regeneration of Soham. The Civic Trust who had been brought in to advise East Cambridgeshire District Council, regarded Soham as a key location in East Cambridgeshire for regeneration and visual improvement. It was felt that a community based museum would attract tourism to the area and support economic growth. Consequently the committee of two; founders, the late Councillor Lionel Hart and resident Donna Martin arrived at the name 'Soham Community History Museum', a name which encapsulated the intentions of the project.
Our early work...
Soham Museum existed, and still does to a certain extent, as a Living History Museum, with a presence on the world wide web, holding regular 'History Group' Meetings, annual Open Days, local displays and taking part in community events.
The ethos of the museum project evolved through a process of discussion with local agencies and the community, which identified a need for a far reaching and broad prospectus. Because it was a new concept, Soham Museum could define its own parameters and wasn't as restricted as other local heritage initiatives. When the committee was formed in January 1999, we set out to research and collect anything that had links with Soham.
The first obstacle to overcome was the mis-recording of Soham's important history. To celebrate the millennium, in the year 2000, we published our first book The Soham Book 2000 in order to raise awareness of our town's history; virtually nothing had ever been written about Soham and it became obvious that the history of the town had been somewhat overlooked. We made researching our local history one of our key aims and in doing so have revealed that Soham has a unique and undeniably intriguing history dating back to the Mesolithic period.
10 years on...
In June 2008, Soham Museum celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a pledge to find premises. Over the years the project has amassed a collection running into thousands of items as well as an extensive local archive. Our commitment to 'Living History' means that we work within the community, exploring not just the physical history of the town but sharing the memories of the townspeople and families that have dwelt here for generations. Our oral history projects have resulted in the publication of two fine books, Soham at War and Soham on the Home Front with a further book planned about life in Soham in the 1950s.
Soham Museum in 2014
In 2012 we decided to set up 'Soham Local and Family History Group' who meet regularly and have at their centre the challenge of researching and recording more about the history of Soham. We also started our regular and increasingly popular Coffee Morning's, meeting every first Saturday of the month at Soham Library, and giving people an opportunity to come and talk to our team members about the Museum Project. During this time, we were also exploring the possibility of going into partnership with Soham Library and leasing rooms for a permanent public exhibition. Unfortunately and despite both partners best efforts the opportunity to lease part of the library building was withdrawn. Soham Museum continues to hold events and meetings at Soham Library and visitors can view our themed exhibitions in the foyer.
In 2013, Soham Museum was awarded full charity status. We are run by Trustee's and have a growing team of committee members and volunteers who help to make decisions, fund raise and put on events. Our friendly 'History Group' which meets bi-monthly at Berrycroft Methodist Church Hall is a great place to meet and make new friends and attracts some of the country's leading speakers on local and social history. Our events are well attended and increasingly successful, and our membership scheme gives everyone the opportunity to take part at very little cost.
By 2007 our fund raising capacity had increased to over £3,000 per annum, but moving forwards, in search of a home for our collection, we need to set our sights slightly higher and are hoping to raise in excess of £10,000 per year, in order to give the people of Soham and our visitors, free access to a permanent, vibrant and exciting museum exhibition and archive.
There are so many opportunities for people to get involved in what we do, either by attending events, becoming a 'Friend of Soham Museum', joining the 'Local and Family History Group', joining the committee or volunteering for projects. We have a great team of people that work together towards preserving and enriching our heritage, if you want to get involved or find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking After Your Heritage Since 1998
Charity Registered No. 1151345