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Hidden Histories: How it all started

Colchester Museums have always been proud to look after thousands of years of human and natural history. We also believe in trying to share the whole story behind the buildings and collections we hold.

As well as the triumphs of progress and human achievements, history is full of injustice, tyranny and oppression. For many, those issues not only affect their past, but also their present. Talking about them may sometimes be challenging or upsetting, but it is important that those stories are heard.

So What Have We Been Doing?


Colchester’s history spans thousands of years and our galleries offer a snapshot of the changing town and its people.

We know that not all lives are reflected in those displays and are working hard to ensure our temporary exhibitions are more representative of our local community, providing an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Recent examples include:


As well as public events, we organise and support development opportunities for our team and the wider cultural sector. Through these events we share learning and further our own understanding of important issues, such as decolonisation and climate change.

By encouraging discussion and actively listening, both to our peers and to our local community, we hope to grow more representative and relevant.


Since 2014, our Key Stage 2 education session Romans in Colchester has included a guided tour of the Castle foundations. Slavery in the Roman world and its role in their society is openly discussed. Our staff talk to school groups about the impact of slavery and how it was used to construct Roman buildings, including the one they are standing in. Encouraging the children to imagine what life must have been like and engage with their feelings is an important part of our education sessions.


In 2019 we launched the first of our LGBTQ+ tours of Colchester Castle. These tours pick out stories about individuals from the past who did not have heterosexual relationships or conform to binary gender. We intend to make tours such as this a more regular feature so those stories are told more often.

Our goal is to create more tours that challenge misconceptions of history, engage with our community and share untold stories. For details of upcoming tours, visit our Events page.


Since 2016 we have joined Colchester Pride, flying the Pride flag at the Castle and being part of their events. We have been working closely with Black History Month, with our first event at Hollytrees Museum being held in October 2019.

Our team continues to seek advice from the community and, in 2020, the Colchester Museums Development Foundation was formed, with community representatives on the board of trustees.

What's On


Discover something new in Colchester.

Browse the diary to find fun, family-friendly events all year round. 

Exhibitions + Displays

Our programme aims to showcase the variety of the collections from art to archaeology, costume to clocks.

Where will your adventure start?