Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life
Report of Curator, Ancient House.
Mr Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from October 2014 to January 2015.
The current exhibition at the Museum was ‘Thetford and the First World War’ and it had been well received.
David Osborne had launched his latest book ‘A Small Fragment of the Great War: The Ancient Borough of Thetford 1914-1919’. Guests were invited to Ancient House and a large number of books were sold. All proceeds from the sales had been donated to the Thetford Remembers project and the Museum thanked the author for his generosity.
The Museum’s Teenage History Club held a World War One themed event in December in the guise of a Murder Mystery Event. Guests heard clues from the characters to attempt to unravel the puzzle of who killed George Pye. The Teenagers gave a very professional performance and had learned much about Thetford in the First World War.
Ancient House was part of the Thetford Christmas Lights switch on, and saw over 220 visitors into the Museum.
The period between October to January saw over 120 school children achieving special edition First World War Arts Awards.
In December 2014, the Museum celebrated its 90th Anniversary with a Dinner at the Carnegie Rooms. The event saw the launch of a project to make more of the Museum’s unique Duleep Singh connections.
The Learning Officer, Melissa Hawker had attended several conferences, including the Kids in Museums conference at Kensington Palace where she spoke about Thetford’s mini-museum club.
Ancient House hosted the first SHARE training day which involved delegates from a variety of museums sharing knowledge on ‘making museum trails’. The event went really well.
The Teenage History Club from Ancient House had the opportunity to take over Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Twitter feed for the day. They were also able to work with the Curator of Gressenhall and looked at plans for the redisplay of the workhouse.
Mr Oliver Bone introduced Dr Keith Robinson, the new Chairman of the Friends of Ancient House. He had a keen interest in the flint collection and paintings.
The visitor numbers were circulated and showed that the October to January figures were higher than the previous year, but this was down to the free admission to the museum during that time. Free admission would no longer apply next year and would possibly affect visitor numbers over the same period next year.
Councillor Spencer raised concerns over the admission charges and asked if special discounts would apply to schools.
Mr Bone reassured Members that the school admission arrangements would remain the same.
The Chairman asked for more information on the certificate the young people received on World War One. Mr Bone said that the award scheme was accredited by Trinity College London, and provided a programme focusing on study at various levels.
Councillor Humphrey said that the book by David Osborne seemed really interesting but asked why the Museum was the sole outlet for this and asked if it could be available at other outlets.
Mr Bone said that the launch of the book at the museum did encourage people into Ancient House museum.
Dr Robinson suggested that the book should be sold at Norwich Castle Museum and the Chairman agreed with this and said that there might be others interested in the book. Mr Bone would look into this opportunity.
The Chairman thanked Mr Bone for his report.