Agenda item

Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life

Report of Curator, Ancient House.


Dr Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from February 2014 to May 2014.


The Lost Tudor sculptures exhibition completed its run at the end of March.  The project had succeeded in attracting National and International publicity, partly due to the partnership working with the University of Leicester and others.


The current exhibition at the Museum was ‘I love Toys and Games’ of which most of the items were loans from the public-spirited members of the local community.


The Heritage Lottery Fund had approved funding for the Thetfords' commemoration of the Great War of which a major event would be held on 4 August, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war. 


On 24 May Ancient House hosted the national launch for Takeover Day in museums which saw the Teenage History Club running the museum for the day.  This included running a museum tour for invited guests and teenagers telling stories of Thetford’s past.


A variety of Family Learning events had been held during the school holidays in February, April and May and had been well attended.


Two members of staff had recently joined Ancient House.  Tabatha Runacres had commenced a Heritage Learning Traineeship as part of the Skills for Future project and Emily Shepperson as part of the teaching museum.


A housekeeping training day had been held on 19 May and resulted in trainees from the Teaching Museum and Skills for the Future learning about the vital importance of conservation cleaning.


Melissa Hawker was invited to speak at an Arts Award training event in Salford Museum.  Melissa talked about her experience delivering Arts Award in a museum setting and showed participants how to make an Art Form Spotter Wheel.


The Museum’s Duleep Singh connections continued to generate national and international interest.  Hardip Singh Kohli recorded at Ancient House part of a programme soon to be aired on BBC Radio 4.


The Friends Group continued to support the Museum through financial support and was under a new Chairman – Mr Michael Oakes.


The team of volunteers continued to develop through training opportunities provided to them and Dr Bone conveyed his thanks to them for their continued support.


The visitor figures were circulated which showed 2194 visitors to date.


Councillor Kybird said that the Teenage History Club was very complimentary of Melissa in that she not only supported them in the history of the Museum but also helped with presentation skills.


Mr Oakes said the Friends were growing in strength.  He asked if the relationship with the British Museum would allow Ancient House to borrow more artefacts.


Dr Bone said the British Museum had changed their approach recently and would be willing to share more materials.


The Chairman asked what the Museum had found out about Princess Sophia Duleep Singh a leading suffragette. 


Dr Bone informed the Committee that Princess Sophia was an interesting character and would feature in the World War One Exhibition where she had served as a nurse.


The Chairman thanked Dr Bone for his comprehensive report.


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