Diss Museum Community CabinetThe Community Cabinet is an opportunity for members of the public and community groups to curate a single, dedicated cabinet with objects of their own choice.  Objects may come from their own lives and ‘collections’; or participants may wish to explore the museum’s collections to pursue a particular subject of interest.  It is a chance for visitors to tell their own story, reveal hidden stories from within the museum or nurture a private passion and, in each case, learn about display and interpretation with the guidance of members of the museum staff.

The Museum launched this project in September 2014 with a display of New Hall china by a resident of Diss.  Next season’s displays will include Sweetheart Souvenirs (military handkerchiefs and other items), Crested China and Diss W.I. centenary celebrations.

Diss Museum Community Cabinet
Each exhibition will run for approximately six to eight weeks to enable as many groups/individuals as possible to participate in the project during the opening times of the Museum between March and the end of October each year. The terms and conditions are set out below.

If you are interested in participating please contact the Collection Managers either by email at disscollections@gmail.com, or by filling out the form below. If you would prefer, an ‘expression of interest form’ can be obtained from a steward at the Museum, or by contacting the Museum Manager, Basil Abbott on 01379 650618.

The Community Cabinet is a grant programme run by SHARE Museums East, itself a programme funded by the Arts Council, England and delivered to the East of England region by Norfolk Museum Services. In 2014, fourteen museums around the region received funding to develop or enhance a community cabinet. These museums are:

Community Cabinet

Terms and Conditions for displays in the Community Cabinet:
• The title and contents of the exhibition must be agreed and approved in advance by the Collection Managers.
• The parties must agree any assistance needed from the Museum.
• The Exhibitor must supply their own transport and deliver and collect their exhibits to and from the Museum on the agreed set-up and dismantle dates.
• The Exhibitor is responsible for ensuring that the contents of the display do not breach any copyright and that all relevant consents for their use have been obtained.
• At the Exhibitors' discretion, insure the contents of the exhibition whilst on the Museum's premises.
• The exhibition will be housed in a dedicated, secure cabinet.
• The Museum will not accept any liability for loss or damage to the exhibits whilst in its care.

De Havilland Aircraft Museum, London Colney, Hertfordshire
Diss Museum, Diss, Norfolk
Halesworth and District Museum, Halesworth, Suffolk
Lowewood Museum and Epping Forest District Museum, Essex
Much Hadham Forge Museum, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire
Museum of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk
National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket, Cambridgeshire
Redbourn Village Museum, Redbourn, Hertfordshire
Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, Ridgmont, Bedfordshire
Royston Museum, Royston, Hertfordshire
Stevenage Museum, Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Three Rivers Museum, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
Wymondham Heritage Museum, Wymondham, Norfolk

For more information about SHARE, visit www.sharemuseumseast.org.uk.

Please fill in the form below if you are interested in participating in the Community Cabinet, and we will get back to you.


Interested in exhibiting in the Community Cabinet?

Since 2014, we have had many fascinating exhibits in the Community Cabinet, such as iron rations, New Hall porcelain, decorative tins, Dig Diss and Diss Cyclathon. Take a look at the photos below to see the variety of collections we have had on display.

A lifetime of collecting
From an early age ‘Tiger’ Waters has been fascinated by weird, wonderful and ordinary items, especially if they were a bargain at a country auction or boot sale.  A small sample of his collection includes:

What is the Community Cabinet?


Corn sampler – used on a wherry to take corn samples from the hold


Neck collar – to deter cows from suckling another cow


Football lacer – for lacing up a leather football


Tin openers – including a large BULLNOSE example issued to shops to open large tins of corned beef.


Skirt lifter – a Victorian device which was clamped to the fabric of a long skirt, the cord was pulled to lift the hem out of the way of puddles or mud


Bottle openers – Victorian era


Mystery object – a aluminium utensil, can you name it’s use?


Bottle – from St. Benet’s Abbey, near Ranworth, Norfolk


Egg box – used to pack and send fertile hen’s eggs for rearing.  They were sent by rail or post all over the country in the early to mid C20th


Headlight cover – during WW2 vehicles had to observe the blackout rules, so covers were fitted to deflect light down onto the road


Brass blowlamp – powered by paraffin and used for burning off paint


Dunlop kit – original tin containing a repair kit for tubeless tyres – 1950’s


Oyster shell – 150 million years old – identified by Norwich Museum


Novelty nutcracker – Victorian metal nutcracker in the shape of a dog


Whist score marker – made from ebony and bone, the finger points to the score achieved when playing a card game of whist. C 1890


Women’s Suffrage badge – worn by those who were campaigning for the right of women to vote. C 1905


Art Deco buckle – one half of an enamelled belt buckle. C 1935


Doctor’s box – some Victorian country doctors travelled on horseback, this box would have contained medicines and small equipment


Pen wipe – essential for when using a dip pen or quill, to remove excess ink, before starting to write. C1850


Infantry horse brasses – the pair are from a bridle on an officer’s horse


Veterinary scissors – curved to allow fur to be trimmed close to the skin before treatment.


Scissors – on an industrial scale!  Possibly for the leather trade.


Toy – a  moto-cart  No. 027G made by Dinky. c1950’s


Hand tools – an assortment of tools used by craftsmen


Cigarette case – hand-made and engraved, possibly by a Prisoner of War during WW2



Diss Museum

11 Market Hill
IP22 3JZ
01379 650618

Accredited Museum
See our reviews on Trip Advisor
Diss Museum2

Website designed and hosted by DataTech DTP