The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum holds at its core the rich histories of Oxfordshire’s two former County Regiments: The Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars (in which Oxfordshire-born Winston Churchill served and was associated with for 64 years), and the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Light Infantry, which later became the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
As well as the two county regiments, Oxfordshire has always had a rich military heritage, and currently hosts a Company of The Rifles (the successors to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) in Abingdon; a logistics squadron of the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars in Banbury; two major Royal Air Force bases at Brize Norton and Benson; and a major logistic base and the Defence Explosives Munitions School at Bicester; as well as other logistic units stationed within the county.
Since we opened in 2014, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum has been telling the stories of these soldiers, their families, the county towns in which they lived or came from, and the consequences of conflict on them and the County. We pride ourselves on being a new take on the classic military museum: one where everyone can be inspired to learn and share stories of courage and combat in conflict and peace and we want to inspire everyone with our collections and story-telling. Funding is critical to our ability to continue to deliver a museum that can fuel curiosity, engage communities, and deepen relationships to enable us to flourish.
In the current climate of Covid-19, Museums and Galleries have seen a reduction in footfall and donations, and are having to find alternative ways to generate income. Here at The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, in the shadow of Blenheim Palace, we are having to make tough decisions to enable the museum to remain open.
Fortunately for our museum we have a number of medals, that are surplus to our core collection, and it is these that we have reluctantly decided to sell in order to help see us through these difficult times. The vast majority of these medals were purchased on the open market, and now a new generation of collectors will have the opportunity to acquire these for their collections and become their new custodians.
The money we generate will be used to support the Museum as it cares for the collections and provide resources for new exhibitions, as well as providing funds for curatorial expenses and conservation needs. As an independent museum, we rely on generating our own income and the next five years are critical for us to find our way in a post Covid-19 world. We need to ensure that we can still provide content and experiences that are relevant for all generations to enjoy; whether through digital methods or by curating new and exciting exhibitions that entice people back into our galleries.
The Trustees of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum