Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Small Court, Guildhall Complex, Market Place, Thetford, IP24 2BA

Contact: Member Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 1 October 2010.


As the Chairman had not been present at the previous meeting the minutes were formally proposed and seconded and agreed as a correct record.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence had been received from Mrs D Irving and Mrs C Walters.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman thanked Mr Kiddle-Morris for chairing the previous meeting which he had been unable to attend.


He welcomed Councillors Dunn and Bracey to the meeting and also Jan Pitman, Learning Manager based at Gressenhall.



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 Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests which they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.


Mr Kiddle-Morris (standing declaration) - personal interest as a Friend of Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.


Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Report by Oliver Bone.


Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period September to December 2010.  (Originally prepared for the meeting cancelled in December).


The Thetford Festival had been held during the last week of the summer holidays and the museum had been involved, as were many other Thetford organisations.  Plans were already in hand for this year’s Festival which would be held in September and would include the August Bank Holiday.


The Museum’s History Club continued to be successful and presentations were made to school assemblies to encourage membership.


There was on-going maintenance and cleaning of the collections in the museum and one item of monitoring equipment used was sticky traps, to check for beetles.  The museum had an excellent team responsible for this work and they had recently visited Blickling Hall to see how their collections were cared for.


The Knit and Knatter group was extremely popular and also provided new volunteers.  The group ran at no additional cost to the museum and gave people the opportunity for social engagement.


Many of the activities in the museum contained a green stream and the Wormery was one such example.  The resulting compost was used in the museum garden.


A range of family activities had taken place during the half-term week.  Museum staff, Library Staff and a member of the Safer Neighbourhood Team all participated and shared their skills.


The Museum had been successful in attracting some young volunteers. ‘V’ awards were part of a national scheme and were presented when a young volunteer had completed a set number of hours of voluntary work.  A new team of volunteers would begin training on Saturdays in March.


In December the Museum had hosted a book launch and taken part in the Christmas Lights switch-on celebrations.


Finally, the museum was to take part in creating a photographic record of the Thetford Magistrates’ Courts which were due to close.  Although the building itself was fairly modern, it marked the end of centuries of administration of justice in Thetford and was worth recording.


A flyer was tabled which advertised the 24 hour photographic project which would take place in Thetford in March.  The museum would act as the hub for this event, which would digitally record in pictures, all aspects of the town and its people over a 24 hour period.


The Chairman noted that there was an amazing amount going on with the local community and it was a credit that the museum was playing such a big part in it.


The report was noted.


Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Report by Robin Hanley.


Robin Hanley presented the report (originally prepared for the cancelled meeting in December). 


He gave a brief update of the events during the period from October to December, many of which had been adversely affected by bad weather.


The Christmas experience event had gone ahead despite snow and freezing temperatures, thanks to an enormous effort by staff to make the site safe.  It was a tribute to the whole team that there had been no significant incidents. 


The introduction of the smaller event days had worked well and attracted good visitor numbers without the need for the additional staffing required on the larger event days.  They allowed a bigger programme of events at a reduced cost.


The Heavy Horse Day was one such smaller event and evaluation had been carried out on that day to determine the sort of visitors it attracted.  It had been expected to appeal to a specialist audience, but results showed that the visitors were split between older people and families with young children and had generally appealed to a wider audience of largely local people from Dereham, Swaffham and Norwich.


The information gathered would help with the planning of future events.  The list for 2011 was almost finalised and would be issued at the next meeting.  It was broadly similar to 2010 with both large and small event days.  A booklet was being prepared to help market the events and to explain the differences so that visitors would be clear about what type of event they were attending.


The 2011 programme of events would include:


  • February Half Term – farm based activities
  • Spring Working Day on 3 April
  • Easter and Food Fair combined, on 25 April
  • Royal Wedding event, on Sunday 1 May with a May Day theme
  • History Fair, on Sunday 29 May – moved from its traditional Bank Holiday Monday spot to avoid competition with other events in the area
  • School summer holidays – lots of activities, crafts, theme trails, guided walks, etc
  • Looked After Children’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Homes on the Road, on 26 June, celebrating traveller traditions
  • Harvest Day, during the summer holidays and focussed on the farm
  • Village at War, on 28 and 29 August
  • Heritage Open Day
  • Heavy Horse Day
  • Apple Day


The Christmas event was to be reviewed and was not likely to be repeated in the same format.  Instead the intention was to provide two or three pre-booked, half day Victorian Christmas activity days, linked with the schools programme.


The museum would also be supporting the Night at the Museum event.  Jan Pitman, Learning Manager explained that they were trying to link the learning department with general public activities.  The Night at the Museum would be held in the evening and would include a haunting and a murder!  Participants would deal with different issues of relationships and the evening would end at about 10.30pm.


Other developments at the museum included the Land Army Gallery which was due to open May/June time with a big publicity push.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Next Meeting

To agree a date for the next meeting.


It was agreed that the next meeting would be held at 2pm on Friday 17 June 2011 at Gressenhall and would include a tour of the site after the meeting.


The Chairman suggested that the Green Agenda Panel should be invited to view the sustainable projects being undertaken at the museum.  After consideration, it was agreed to invite them to the autumn meeting, when the biomass generator would be in operation.