Agenda and minutes


No. Item



To elect a Chairman for the ensuing year.



RESOLVEDthat Councillor Kybird be appointed as Chairman for the ensuing year.



To elect a Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.



RESOLVED that Councillor Duigan be appointed as Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 15th January 2020.








The minutes of the meeting held on 15 January 2020 were confirmed as an accurate record subject to an amendment to confirm that Councillor Chris Harvey did attend the meeting but was not shown in the attendance.



To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies had been received from Councillors Bowes, Brame, Richmond, and Mr Ward and David Blackburn.


Chairman's Announcements




Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.




Declaration of Interests

Next MeetingThe duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.





Ancient House Museum Report pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To receive a report from Oliver Bone, Curator of Ancient House Museum.


Dr Robin Hanley, Assistant Head of Museums for Norfolk Museums Service (NMS), explained that all NMS museums closed to visitors on 19 March 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic with the majority of staff working remotely since this time. Most normal activities and services, including general visits and school visits, had been severely impacted. Many NMS staff had been involved in key duties relating to the Norfolk County Council’s COVID-19 emergency work including helping to coordinate volunteer activities and managing the distribution of food and medicine to residents who needed support.


During the lockdown period NMS staff had developed a broad range of digital resources to support audiences remotely which had included a significant expansion of social media activity. Resources had also been developed for those in digital poverty or without ready access to digital content.


From the 4 July Government announced that museums could legally reopen with suitable COVID-19 security measures in place and three NMS sites, which included Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, reopened to the general public on 3 August. All visits had to be pre-booked using timed tickets available from the Art Tickets website and to accommodate social distancing, site visitor capacity had been reduced to approximately 30%.


The layout of Ancient House, with a succession of smaller rooms over two floors, made the re-opening of this site to the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic more difficult, due to the requirements for social distancing. Planning was currently taking place for the limited resumption of carefully controlled on-site activities for schools and young people when it was safe to do so. The NMS had remained ever vigilant in terms of the changing guidance and had continued to be flexible in terms of responding to any new government requirements introduced over time, such as the wearing of face coverings.


Councillor Clarke thanked Dr Hanley, and the NMS staff for all of the hard work that had gone on behind the scenes to make it possible to re-open museums in line with current Government guidelines and in doing so had reassured the public and visitors that Norfolk Museums would be a safe and secure environment in which to visit.


The Curator of Kings Lynn and Thetford Museums, Oliver Bone, presented the Ancient House Museum report to Members that covered the period from December 2019 to August 2020.


Ancient House remained closed and they were looking at how it can be opened safely for school groups and young people’s groups with still some work to be done and hope that over the winter period would have some resumption to work towards reopening safely in line with Government guidelines.


It was hoped that the Studio Ceramics exhibition, (the last exhibition at the museum prior to lockdown) would be replaced with the Thetford Treasure exhibition which would be a loan from the British Museum of a selection from the late Roman hoard of inscribed and decorated silver spoons and gold jewellery items. A request had been put into the British Museum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/20


Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Report pdf icon PDF 496 KB

To receive a report from Andrew Smith, Operations Manager – West.


The Operations Manager for East and West, Andrew Smith presented the report to Members that covered the period from December 2019 to September 2020.


Andrew confirmed that Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse closed on 19 March but was very pleased to be able to put the work in place and all the required measurements to reopen on 20 July for a couple of weeks to museum pass holders and friends before reopening to the public on 3 August 20. To accommodate visitors in a safe and Covid secure way numbers were limited to a maximum capacity of 285 people per day with 135 visitors at any one time. During the school holidays approximately 120 visited per day but since the school autumn term started in September the number averaged at 40 to 50 per day with more at weekends.


A themed event during the February half term, The Hunt for Old Tom’s Treasure ran from Monday 17 to Friday 19 February, with an average of 216 people per day. Andrew said it had been very sad to cancel the events programme which included many special event days such as A Vintage Affair, Forties Village at War and Apple Day and the very popular Horse Power day due to the ongoing pandemic.


Since the reopening of the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse on Monday 20 July a reintroduction of small-scale event activities has been instigated. There had been a pencil free children’s activity sheet available to all visitors daily and plans were underway for October to include updated activity packs for children and a hands-free obstacle course, and a virtual Christmas event at the workhouse in December.


The costs of delivery and marketing the Gressenhall event programme continued to be subsidised with funding from Arts Council England (ACE) as part of the 2018-22 Norfolk Museums Service ACE business plan as a National Portfolio Organisation.


Andrew was pleased to confirm that the temporary exhibition Full Steam Ahead did open in February half term which, in the future, would include the Farmers Foundry Company engine which was currently undergoing restoration and hoped to be return in Spring 2021.


Planning had started for a 2021 temporary exhibition entitled More in Commons and NMS would be working in partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who were celebrating their 95th birthday. The exhibition would be a celebration of the wildlife, history and community of Norfolk’s common land.


Staff had also created several online versions of previous temporary exhibitions during the lockdown period which allowed online visitors to explore objects and images at their own pace.


Gressenhall continued to lead on the More Than Oliver Twist project which had been granted a 4-month extension and had been made into a completely digital exhibition which would be ready to publish in mid-October and hosted on the Google Arts and Culture platform.


Lockdown had given the opportunity to recruit further family history research volunteers and research had been completed on all the inmates recorded in the 1881 census. Volunteers had now  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/20


Next Meeting

To agree a date for the next meeting, suggested date Monday 25th January 2021.



The arrangements for the next meeting to be held on Monday 25 January 2021 at 10.00am were noted.