Venue: Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Museum, Gressenhall
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2013.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2013 were agreed and signed as a correct record.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors Humphrey, Smyth, Kybird and Clark.
Members were informed that Mr Clark was now unable to be a member of this committee due to personal circumstances. A replacement would be appointed at the next Full Council meeting.
The Chairman welcomed Councillor Hebborn to the Committee.
The Western Area Manager invited Members to a tour of The Norfolk Collections Centre following the meeting.
Report of the Western Area Manager.
Mr Robin Hanley presented highlights from the report which covered the period between October 2013 to February 2014.
Mr Hanley provided Members with a full copy of the Countywide Curator Report for 2012-2013 for their information.
Gressenhall closed to the public on Sunday 3 November and re-opened for the February half-term holiday. The Museum opened with a ‘behind the scenes’ preview event which gave pass holders and friends of the Museum an opportunity for tours and access to areas that were not normally open to the public. The formal opening on Sunday 9 March was a successful start and made the front page headline of the local Eastern Daily Press on the 10March.
The full event programme was shared with Members and included some events which had been tried and tested and new events such as the Spring Fair and History Alive. Event days would be evaluated based on visitor statistics and feedback.
The cost of delivering and marketing the Gressenhall event programme continued to be subsidised with funding from the Arts Council England.
New events included a Workhouse-themed living history day called History Alive, and more thought had been given to Mothers Day event in treating Mums. The Museum would be supporting National Open Farm Sunday where free admission would be offered to the farm only. Another event introduced to the event programme was Rock and Roll Gressenhall which would be an intergenerational event exploring all things vintage dating from the 1950s and 1960s.
Gressenhall was pleased to be working in partnership with Breckland District Council to deliver the Festival on the Farm event on 26 July 2014.
The Apple Day event held on 20 October 2013 saw a strong number of people in attendance and it was encouraging to see the event continue to flourish.
There was a strong demand for the pre-booked Halloween event with 385 participants.
The pre-booked Victorian Family Christmas event took place on 15 December. It was a low cost event to deliver as it recycled materials that were used from school visits in the run up to the event.
The February half-term saw an increase in visitors with a core activity being an interactive trail aimed to appeal to the family audience.
Overall event day attendances at Gressenhall during the 2013 season had increased to 18,421 compared to 14,918 in 2012.
Gressenhall would be contributing to the county-wide programme of events commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.
The new 2014 site leaflet had been printed and distributed and headlined a strong family ticked price of £29 which was very competitive compared to other local attractions.
The Rediscover Gressenhall marketing campaign for discounted entry into the Museum would feature again in April 2014. It aimed to recruit new Museum pass members and capture email contact details for use in follow-up electronic marketing.
In other Museum developments, the Gressenhall superstores, recently renamed The Norfolk Collections Centre had improved public access to view collections. A new Mezzanine in one of the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Report of Curator, Ancient House.
Mr Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from October 2013 to January 2014.
The current exhibition of Thetford’s Lost Tudor Sculptures continued to attract new visitors, and was due to close on 27 March 2014.
A light hearted exhibition would commence on the 11 April called ‘I love toys and games’. This would display a variety of toys and games from the last 100 years.
The local model railway society would be setting up an exhibition to operate for the enjoyment of visitors.
The Museum’s teenage club would also be creating an animation working with the Norfolk film maker Matthew Harrison.
The summer exhibition would form part of the town’s commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War. The Museum team had co-ordinated a bid for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enhance the planned commemorations, and would hear the outcome of that in April.
The regular talks programme for adults had been supplemented by members of the Representing Reformation project team who had created the current museum exhibition.
Ancient House continued to maintain a strong social media presence with over 500 followers on Twitter, including the Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Museum had been chosen to take part in a national launch for Museum Takeover Day which gave an opportunity to young people to work alongside staff and volunteers and participate in the life of the Museum.
Work continued with the Arts Award Discover programme with Ancient House. The Learning Officer, Melissa Hawker had delivered a presentation regarding this work to the recent Museum Association Conference in Liverpool.
Specialists from the Natural History and Conservation departments visited Ancient House to assess the natural history collections which included a review of the taxidermy collections both on display and in storage.
During November and December, the Learning Team worked with local schools to explore Thetford during Tudor times.
The Knit and Knatter group were knitting poppies to contribute to the commemoration of the First World War. It was hoped that a window display full of poppies would commemorate each of those from Thetford that had fallen during WW1.
The Friends group continued to assist with the Museum in a variety of ways, and had recently seen the election of a new Chairman.
The visitor figures were circulated and it was reported that numbers had risen but this was mainly due to the free admission during the summer holidays.
The Chairman congratulated Ancient House on the way they actively involved the community of Thetford, and thanked Mr Bone for his report.
To agree a date for the next meeting.
The date and venue of the next meeting would be confirmed.