Agenda item

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Report

To receive a report from Hannah Jackson, Operations Manager West.


Hannah Jackson Operations Manager and Dr Robin Hanley presented the report for Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Report.


The highlights were:


Major Event days Retro Revival had seen 1500 visitors. The Village at War event had taken place on August bank holiday and Apple Day would be on October 14th. There had been several smaller events, “Days with a Difference”, Futuristic Farming had looked at farming historically and what it would be like in the future. Fathers day “beer and brewing” had complemented the temporary exhibition and the Story Festival day had featured Strange Fascination Theatre Company who performed “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, these events had attracted fewer visitors than in previous years. The Horse Power day had proved popular still with 800 visitors and the Heritage open day, which offered free admission saw 2500 visitors.

Throughout the school holidays different themes had been offered which gave visitors the opportunity to explore the site and use the areas in a different way.

The short courses, “willow garden sculptures” and “print making” had both sold out and it was hoped that the forthcoming “apple tree pruning” and “needle felting” would be as popular.


Museum developments – The “Voices from the Workhouse” project would complete in December. The last new space, The Collections Gallery, reopened in March 2018. The tablet tool had been formally launched, this gave visitors another way of exploring the site, it had activities, games and resources on them. The developments had come in under budget and following negotiations with the National Lottery Fund the money would be used to improve the Transport Gallery over the winter. Additional resources had also been added to the Collections Gallery.


Temporary exhibition – “beer and brewing” celebrating Norfolk pubs. It was noted that temporary exhibitions were not only a great way of engaging with different visitors it had provide the theme for this years “Collaborate” exhibition which opened in September and inspired several groups to create their own response in the form of wall hangings, prints, digital interventions and the re creation of a panel.


Norfolk Collections Centre – this had opened to visitors on a number of days throughout the season and had offered the opportunity to attend a West Runton Mammoth tour.


Commercial activity – work was continuing with the Norfolk Events Company to further develop the offer of Gressenhall as a Wedding Venue. It was noted that five weddings had been held at the Museum this season.


Friends and volunteers – The Chairman requested that the Chairman of Friends of Gressenhall be written to making the offer for a member to be a co-optee on the Breckland Area Museums Committee.


School visitors. 2017-18 saw total numbers for schools across the service hitting record levels, around 50,000 school children. Gressenhall had over 10,500 children from school. That trend is continuing across the service.


With the deletion of Victorian, Tudors and Stewards from the curriculum Gressenhall had introduced the Neolithic sessions and these had proved popular.


Members were advised that a signed agreement with UEA for educational sites had been made and students were given free access to museum.

Members were advised that work with colleagues within Norfolk County Council to support work around wellbeing, fostering and adoption was ongoing. Held wellbeing event focussing on mental health of young people. Following the event YMCA gave training to staff on mental health in young people. The annual family fun day in association with Norfolk County Council adoptions services saw nearly 600 adopted family members on site.


Work was continuing with Norfolk County Council virtual school sensory support team. Support was offered to children who faced many challenges, some with visual and hearing impairments. It was suggested that Jan Pitman could attend a meeting at Gressenhall and give a presentation on learning and packages available.


Visitor numbers

September saw visitor numbers increased from the previous year. Figures had been impacted by a wet Easter and a humid summer which did impact numbers. September had regained some normality.


Supporting documents: