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Cambridge And County Folk Museum
2/3 Castle Street
Telephone: 01223 355159

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Overview of collections

The collection of folklore items is of national significance. Many of these items were collected by the late Enid Porter, a former Curator of the museum, author of 'Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore' and editor of many memoirs of Fenland life, and a renowned folklorist. It contains many examples which are rarely found in museums and the objects are well supported by Porter's writings.;The museum has an interesting and important collection of objects associated with childhood. The objects range from items associated with the rearing of children, such as nursery furniture and clothing, as well as their toys and games. The museum possesses an extremely important selection of dolls houses and a good range of dolls.

Overview of how collections are displayed

The museum is the only local or social history museum in Cambridge, and over sixty years of collecting has resulted in a rich and varied selection of objects, over 60% of which are on show, reflecting the lives of local people from the 17th century to the present day.The museum is currently undergoing a major programme of work to improve access to the museum and to the building and to its presentations, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The displays include thematic displays, room settings and tableaux such as The White Horse Inn bar, The Kitchen, Domestic Crafts, City & University, Childhood and Fens & Folklore.Main themes are community Life; Domestic, Family and Personal Life; and Working Life. The collections include three-dimensional objects;documents and books (primary and secondary sources); iconographic sources (pictures, paintings and maps); and photographs, film and electronic archives and tape-recordings"

Star Objects at this location

Rowell Belt - This silver belt was awarded to Charles Rowell, a local man from the nearby village of Chesterton. He won the Long Distance Championship of the World three times in the late 1870s, finally winning the belt outright in 1881.
Man Loaded with Mischief Inn Sign - this inn sign is one of four inn signs held at the museum painted by local artist Richard Hopkins Leach in the 1840s. This talented artist created signs of beauty, full of contemporary detail, and with an obvious sense of humour. No doubt they encouraged many to patronise these local pubs.
Moles Forefeet - thought by many in the Cambridgeshire Fens to cure rheumatism if carried in the pocket. In the past, many Fenland people suffered from rheumatic complaints, locally known as the 'screws', which were aggravated by living in the damp cold climate.
Tobacconist's Sign - This beautifully carved wooden sign advertising tobacco, snuff and cigars dates from the 18th century. It depicts the traditional images associated with tobacconists, namely a Blackamoor, wearing a skirt of tobacco leaves, and a Turk, standing either side of rolls of tobacco.
Bed Bug Trap - This ingenious wicker-work trap was used to catch bed bugs which infested beds in the past. It would be placed behind the pillow, encouraging the bugs to crawl inside. Before you went to sleep, your maid would remove the trap, take it outside and shake.
Steelyard from Stourbridge Fair - This steelyard was used to weigh the bales of wool and cloth at the Stourbridge Fair in the 19th century, under the supervision of the Vice-Chancellor of the University. The fair does however date back much further. It received its charter from King John in the early 13th century, and at its peak in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the largest in Europe.
Turtle Shell - This shell commemorates a dinner at Clare College in April 1903, when the turtle was eaten. It has been decorated with the college crest and the date of the dinner.
Apple Peeler & Corer - This wonderful piece of technology shows the Victorian love of mechanisation and cast iron. Despite its size and complexity, it does not, however, peel or core very well and leaves oil on the apple.
Teddy Bear- Teddy is one of the most well-loved objects in the museum, and is the most popular in our 'Adopt an Object' scheme. It was bought in 1906 from a shop in Huntingdon as a birthday present for a very lucky child.
Framed Sampler, 1760- This sampler, depicting a religious verse and worked on linen, is one of the earliest samplers in the museum's fine collection, along with a whole range of needleworking tools and other items of decorative hand crafts.
Collection Descriptions
Folklife (Cambridge And County Folk Museum)
-The collection of folklore items is of national significance. Many of these items were collected by the late Enid Po...
Local and Social History (Cambridge And County Folk Museum)
-The main themes of the collection are: Community Life:cultural traditions, social organisation, health and welfare,...

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