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New Saffron Walden Museum exhibition uncovers secrets of how plants have survived for millions of years





A new exhibition at Saffron Walden Museum uncovers the secrets of how plants have survived for millions of years.

Running until July 7, Plants: The Struggle for Survival explores our relationship with plants that heal or harm us, feed or frustrate us and details their enduring struggle to survive.

The exhibition brings original 19th-century herbarium specimens to life using items from across the museum’s wide-ranging collections.

Old books detailing flowers are featured in the display
Old books detailing flowers are featured in the display

A spokesperson for the museum said: “Relive the evolution of plants and discover the diversity behind their success in colonising the planet. Meet the local people who made it their mission in life to record and protect the precious diversity they saw, and see how central plants are to our everyday life.

“Travel through nearly one billion years of evolution and from the microscopic to the mega-sized via folklore and traditional remedies in this ambitious special exhibition.”

On display are fossils, pressed plants, taxidermy and items from the social history collection while visitors can view interactive slides which give them a snapshot of plants and the wildlife they support.

Interactive slide viewers give visitors a snapshot of plants and the wildlife they support.
Interactive slide viewers give visitors a snapshot of plants and the wildlife they support.

James Lumbard, the museum’s natural sciences officer, said: “We’re thrilled to feature our historic plant specimens again after several years out of the limelight.

“The exhibition includes truly unique Victorian collections and highlights new stories of modern medicine, traditional beliefs and personal obsession.”

A Victorian wax model of fly agaric toadstools made by the museum’s first paid curator.
A Victorian wax model of fly agaric toadstools made by the museum’s first paid curator.
Exhibition joint-curator James Lumbard admires the gallery
Exhibition joint-curator James Lumbard admires the gallery
The exhibition features fossils, pressed plants, taxidermy and items from the social history collection
The exhibition features fossils, pressed plants, taxidermy and items from the social history collection

The display is housed in the special exhibitions gallery at the Museum Street venue. Opening times are Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am-5pm, Sundays and bank holidays 2pm-5pm. It is closed Wednesdays during school term time. Admission £2.50 for adults (concessions £1.25; under-18s free).



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