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03 June 2020

Memento: Student Review

By Emily Reach, Silver Arts Award Student

Memento: Student Review

A review of our latest community- curated exhibition, Memento, by Silver Arts Award student and young volunteer, Emily Reach.

‘A story behind every object…’ Memories shape our lives. The things we choose to keep as reminders, our mementos, are simultaneously very personal and part of a shared understanding of what it means to be human.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Memento celebrates the memories and stories of communities in Wisbech.

On the 7th of March, I got the opportunity to look around the community-curated Memento exhibition at the Wisbech & Fenland Museum. This exhibition shares objects loaned by people in the town that hold a special meaning to them.

These objects are both old and new, originating from a range of places – from Burkina Faso to the Sea Life Centre in Hunstanton – but although the objects are completely different, they all have something in common – they are all cherished. This is why the Memento exhibition is something everyone needs to experience, as it shows the amazing and heart-warming stories of so many in our town.


The light and spacious layout made it enjoyable to learn about the personal histories that reside in Wisbech, since it is so easy to get around the different cases and to read about the well-placed mementos. It allows you to take in all the wonderful meanings of each object, whether that is the teddy bear made from a medieval themed wedding dress or a life-saving tobacco tin from the First World War.


My favourite object from this exhibition is the tobacco tin that belonged to Private Fred Crowson, a soldier in World War One. Fred Crowson was born in Gorefield, Wisbech, in 1897, and then joined the 9th Suffolk Regiment as a Private during the First World War. However, in 1917 Private Crowson was severely injured and he would have died if it wasn’t for the tobacco tin he carried in his pocket that intercepted a bullet. Private Fred Crowson survived his injuries and was honourably discharged from the army in the December of 1917. This amazing story is why the tobacco tin is my favourite object as it shows us the bravery and selflessness of so many men at that time, including men from our own town.

The Memento exhibition is a perfect example of the best of Wisbech’s community and history and is a refreshing and moving experience that should be seen by everyone in our town.

Notes to editors:

Emily is completing her Silver Arts Award at Wisbech & Fenland Museum in partnership with Essential Skills and the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge. This review contributes towards her portfolio of work.


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