We welcome visitors with pushchairs. Wheelchair access to the ground floor is via a ramp at the front door. Please press the bell on the outside wall to let us know if you need assistance. Our full Access Statement can be found on the homepage of our website www.roystonmuseum.org.uk.
The Royston Tapestry
Prehistoric sea creatures, Romans, Black Death, a mysterious cave – all these and more can be found on the Royston Tapestry. In 1991, the tapestry was started as a way to record Royston’s history and to give local embroiders a place to showcase their skills. Fourteen scenes have so far been stitched onto one continuous piece of linen. Each scene depicts a significant point in Royston’s history illustrating the town’s rich and diverse past.
You can currently see the fifteenth and final scene being worked on at the museum. Our team of embroiderers come in each week to add more stitches. Completing a section, just a few centimetres square, can take several hours due to the detail of the design and the skill required.
Once finished the tapestry will be over 25 metres long and will cover a period reaching back 64 million years. It is hoped that the finished tapestry will go on one-day exhibition at the Town Hall, and then funds raised to display it in the Museum.
A Brief History of the Museum
A Museum was first established in Royston in 1856, when it was housed in the Institute Building (Town Hall), but in 1901 the decision was taken to close it and the collection was unfortunately sent for auction and dispersed. Many of the finest items were bought by collectors, though some were later returned for the current collection through the generosity of individual purchasers.
In the 1960s and 70s a group from the local history society worked on bringing a collection about Royston and the surrounding villages back together. A room in the town hall was acquired to show these objects and arouse people’s interest in the town.
In 1984 the museum moved into its current building, the old Congregational Church Schoolroom (5 Lower King Street). The building had been empty for some time but during the Second World War it had been used as a social club for the members of the American Air Force 91st Bomb Group which was based at Bassingbourn. The Americans installed shower facilities and a kitchen which were later removed at the request of the authorities when the war was over.
Since 1984 the collection has been continually added to. The museum achieved it Accreditation status in 2012 and this highlights the standards of professional practice that the museum strives to maintain and improve on.
Today, the museum hosts events and workshops throughout the year and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to visit the Museum, and experience its wonderful collections and displays.
The museum collection is rich and diverse. On a visit to the museum you will explore the history of the area from prehistoric times through to the present day. You will see everything from Stone Age axe heads to Victorian farming equipment and from Second World War helmets to a Rubik’s cube.
A Museum for Everyone
The Museum aims to cater for all ages. We run a fortnightly Toddler music and Dance workshop and for kids aged roughly 4-10 years we run regular craft workshops particularly during the school holidays and on selected Saturday mornings. We work with older children and young people on community projects, such as the Young Curators Art Festival project and the Museums in Motion project, both of which enable the young people to curate their own artwork and displays.
We run regular craft workshops for adults ranging from willow weaving to rag rugging. We also offer the chance to use our 1855 Colombian Printing Press, which was once used to print the local newspaper, the Royston Crow. For all ages, we also carry out reminiscence work and outreach in the community.
Our wonderful upstairs art gallery showcases local artists. With a varied programmed of art exhibitions throughout the year it is a great reason to keep coming back to see the talent on display.