Report on the SEMF Cambridge Study day

Cambridge Study day — New Audiences, New Developments

Museum of Cambridge, Kettles Yard and the Cambridge Museum of Technology

Coming to the AGM? – Enough for many people to make their excuses and leave, but those of us who accepted the challenge and went to Cambridge on Thursday 17 July were in for a treat! Yes, it was a very hot day but about 20 of us were there, representing a good spread of counties across the Federation’s area: Norfolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Oxfordshire.


We had our AGM over a delicious lunch, and as well as the usual business we were very pleased to accept to elect some five new members for the committee, Katherine Dance, Lauren Ephithite, David Juler, Katie Phillips and Joe Sutch.


We made visits to the Museum of Cambridge, Kettles Yard and the Museum of Technology. None of these museums are quite on the usual Cambridge tourist/museum trail – but seek them out! – all have a lot to offer to an inquisitive museum go-er.
You can get to them all very easily using the Madingley to Newmarket Road — Park and Ride bus which is every 10 minutes. The Bridge Street stop gives easy access to the Museum of Cambridge and Kettles Yard, and the River Lane stop gets you to the Cambridge Museum of Technology.


Museum of Cambridge 2/3 Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ

Kettles Yard Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ

Cambridge Museum of Technology 12–16 Cheddars Lane, Cambridge CB5 8LD


Sally Ackroyd


As a new member of the federation and now a new committee member, Lauren gives us a round up of the day.

The courtyard at the Museum of Cambridge


We began the day at the Museum of Cambridge with delicious coffee and a warm welcome from their staff and trustees.


The first session of the day was with Sarah Ingram, their Chair of Trustees, and Chris Freeman, another trustee, who gave us a great insight into some of the challenges and changes that are going on both at the museum, and also in the city at the moment. We were invited to have a group discussion about this, which people were keen to do… and so our patient volunteer guide, John Flood, had to condense his ‘highlights of the museum’ tour to 20 minutes.


Volunteer John taking the group on a tour of the Museum of Cambridge


After John’s fantastic whistlestop tour of the museum, Summar Hipworth, Head of Operations at Kettle’s Yard spoke to us about developments there. They are undertaking a large scale capital project to improve visitor facilities. This will include a new shop, café, education facilities and improved exhibitions spaces. I even felt brave enough to ask a question!


We then had the opportunity to walk around Kettles Yard, entering the traditional way by ringing the doorbell. The house is true to its former owner and creator HS ‘Jim’ Ede. He intended it neither to be an art gallery or museum and it is an interesting and relaxing space to explore. You can see from the photo that I certainly made myself at home!


Inside Kettle's Yard. SEMF member Lauren is sitting on an armchair


Next was a very yummy lunch and the business of the AGM. Aswell as this being my first federation event I had put myself forward to be a member of the committee. This meant that I had to do a little ‘pitch’ introducing myself to everyone. Although I felt nervous, I had no need to be. Throughout the whole day everyone was very welcoming and easy to talk to.


We had a sunny walk along the river to the next venue – The Cambridge Museum of Technology. This museum is also starting a redevelopment project. Luckily we were able to sit outside and cool off while we had a great talk from Pam Halls, the very passionate curator. She told us all about the Victorian pumping station, the collection and the work that they are doing as part of the Development Stage of a HLF funded project. We then had a great tour from another volunteer called John!


Outside the Museum of Technology


All in all, I really enjoyed my first SEMF event. It is a great opportunity to meet other people who work in museums, visit different places and museums and hear from them about projects and what they’re working on. I’m looking forward to the next one, see you there?


Lauren Ephithite