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Hertfordshire County Council

Traditional Hertfordshire was a partnership project involving 6 Hertfordshire museums and organisations. Staff and volunteers from each one researched the traditions and stories which contribute to the unique culture of their area.

Over 20,000 visitors attended exhibitions, workshops and events, learning about the county's sense of place. This has provided a springboard for further research - from proposed post graduate courses at the University of Hertfordshire, to key elements of Hertfordshire’s upcoming Year of Culture 2020, Traditional Hertfordshire demonstrates the power of folk history and heritage to capture imaginations and evoke the past.

The project was funded by an Our Heritage Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, SHARE Museums East, and supported by the county council's Museums Development Team.

Royston Museum

The museum:

  • held a temporary exhibition on local folklore in the autumn at the Royston & District Museum & Art Gallery
  • held pop up exhibitions in the town centre
  • held children's storytelling sessions based on local legends
  • ran workshops on traditional crafts such as rag rugging and willow weaving

Mill Green Museum & Mill

The museum and mill:

  • collected oral history from local millers and Mill Green Hamlet residents in order to record and share milling dialect and phrases, and the memories of milling
  • created an exhibition on local milling using oral history collected to be called "Voices Beyond the Mill".
  • ran workshops on Traditional Milling Techniques for students from local schools and colleges to engage young people with milling heritage and teach them new skills.

The museum held a special TraditionalHertfordshire afternoon offering demonstrations of traditional skills such as milling, bread making, straw plaiting and storytelling.  Nearly 300 people enjoyed the glorious sunshine and super entertainment.


Stevenage Museum 

The museum:

  • recorded and shared the history of the Stevenage Charter Fair
  • displayed the oral histories and images they collected during the 2016 Charter Fair alongside historic material in an exhibition at the museum

The Fun of the Fair exhibition opened in July and ran until the Autumn.  Over the summer holiday the museum held themed craft and activity sessions such as Splat the Rat and Hook a Duck which were well attended and much enjoyed.


Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Working with local partners, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

  • explored and recorded traditions and customs in Hertfordshire and how these have evolved as different communities have made their home here.
  • created an exhibition and a book celebrating Hertfordshire’s diversity by considering traditions both old and new.
  • facilitated an Academic Discussion Panel, hosted by the University of Hertfordshire, which created a lively debate around topics such as “what is distinctive about Hertfordshire’s traditions?” and “does folklore ever have a purpose?"



North Herts Museum in Hitchin

The museum held a special event “Traditional Hertfordshire – A Day of Story, Song and Dance” at Hitchin Town Hall. 

This event featured storytelling and puppetry from Gordon the Toad and a pop-up exhibition of Hertfordshire Folklore.  Folk music and Morris dancing also featured during this highly enjoyable day.


Dacorum Heritage Trust

Dacorum Heritage Trust held a successful and much enjoyed pop-up exhibition in The Marlowes Shopping Centre in Hemel Hempstead. 

This exhibition celebrated the history of rural life, legends and superstitions in the borough and included craft exhibitions, storytelling, morris dancing and art activities.  Examples of canal art and straw plaiting which had been made at workshops prior to the exhibition were on display and a ghost map for visitors to log their own ghost sightings!

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