Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2011.


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2011 were agreed as a correct record.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr D Irving, Mr D Blackburn, Ms C Walters and Cllr J Bracey.



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 Interest

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





Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Report of the Curator, Ancient House.


Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from June to September 2011.


The World War Two exhibition opened in June.  The opening event was a success, and the exhibition was doing well.


Ancient House had been involved in planning and participating in the Thetford Festival.  The Programme commenced August Bank Holiday and the events were well attended.  An Archaeology Day and various craft events were held amongst other events.


Staff from Ancient House recently attended a visit to Cambridge Folk Museum.  This gave the opportunity to learn how the Folk Museum operated and share experiences.  Ancient House hosted a visit from Aldeburgh Museum staff on 14 October to show the work at Ancient House. 


It was a busy summer period for Ancient House.  One of the Museum’s knitting group volunteers demonstrated a cushion knitted for the 2012 Olympics.  The wool was spun from a newly shorn sheep at Gressenhall.


The Flint store room had been strengthened to support the weight of the flint.  A special event was held during the summer which displayed the flint collection.


Work continued on scanning the Duleep Singh print and drawing collections.  226 prints had been scanned so far and would be uploaded onto the museum electronic library shortly.


Ancient House featured in the Heritage Open Day, an event which was held throughout the county.  The Museum experienced an increase in visitors and believed this was largely because they appeared in the HEART programme.


As part of the BBC Hands On History Reel event, Ancient House held a reminiscence morning using objects, photographs and archived footage of the 1937 coronation celebrations in Thetford.  Visitors enjoyed spotting familiar characters in the film.


Thetford hosted an Anglo-Sikh Study day as part of the Anglo-Sikh Heritage Month.  The event was well attended and included talks from three guest speakers on the build up and aftermath of Anglo-Sikh wars.


Oliver Bone was pleased to report that a volunteer had received his V-Fifty-Award for achieving 50 hours volunteering at the museum.


The Meet up café girls group went to the museum to learn about local history in Thetford and learnt cross stitch.


Finally, Mr Bone was pleased to report that Norfolk had recently received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to make connections between Norfolk and America and included work with Thetford and American schools to create a pop-up display.


The Chairman asked if many people received the V-fifty awards.  Oliver Bone informed the Committee that this was a National Award.


The Chairman thanked Oliver Bone for his report.



Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Report by the Western Area Manager.


Mr Robin Hanley presented the report which covered the period from June to September 2011.


The site would be closed on Sunday 30 October for the winter period, but would be open for school visits.


The Village at War day was held on August Bank Holiday weekend and saw an increase in numbers.  As the weather was reasonable, this allowed the full Battle of Britain flight to take place which was the highlight of the event.  Next year, this event would have an American theme to link in the with Heritage Lottery fund as mentioned earlier.


The smaller ‘Days with a Difference’ events had been successful.  The ‘Fathers Day’ event was on 19 June and was a positive event which saw increased visitor numbers.  On 8 July a ‘Day to Remember’ was a successful event.  The museum worked closely with other agencies such as Age UK who were available on site and provided advice.


Gressenhall took part in the Norwich HEART programme for Heritage Open Day.  This offered visitors free admission to the site and the museum experienced an increase in numbers.


The Heavy Horse Day was held and saw a decrease in numbers but the Museum was looking forward to the Apple Day on Sunday 23 October and hoped for a strong turn out.


The pre-booked events had been a success and would be continued with a fun family event ‘Witches in the Workhouse’ on 29 October.  Additional events were also planned for 20 and 22 December with a Victorian Christmas theme.  As they were pre-planned events, the museum could provide accurate staffing and catering facilities to accommodate the number of visitors.


Mr Hanley confirmed that the Museum would be open from Monday to Friday during the February half term 2012 offering craft and re-enactment activities.


The Women’s Land Army Gallery had been launched with strong support from the Friends of Gressenhall.  The response they received was very positive and a good addition to the Museum.  The opening event attracted excellent media coverage including a 2-page spread in the local press.


Gressenhall continued to host a Monument Fellowship, part funded by the Museums Association.  In the programme the former retired curator was sharing her experiences and knowledge with the current curator and staff.


The newly funded Bio-mass boiler was now in operation, and was fuelling the main office building.  The efficiency of this would be monitored carefully.  The recently installed LED lights had already seen a reduction in energy costs.


The Museum had recently submitted a planning application relating to the proposed relocation of the shop to existing spaces within the centre of the site.  It was hoped that work would take place during the winter ready for the 2012 opening.


Improvement works had continued in the playground area with the installation of a new pyramid-tower.  Sadly the willow tunnel had to be removed due to a wasp infestation.


Works were also being carried out on the Farm, with improvements to the fencing.  A new farm safety card  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Breckland Collections Review pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report by the Head of NMAS.

Additional documents:


The Curator of Gressenhall, Megan Dennis presented the report on the review of the Gressenhall collection.


A review of the collection at Gressenhall had taken place in accordance with the Acquisition and Disposal Policy.  It involved looking at all the pieces in the collection to see if they were still suitable for retention.


Items that were part of the core collection fell into three catagories, Display Material, Study Collections and Long-term research material.


Items that were not retained for the core collection were catagorised as follows:

  • Working or demonstration material
  • Education, handling and loan collection
  • Set dressing and cannibalisation
  • Dispersal
  • Disposal


Items that were for dispersal were found suitable homes where they would be put to good use.  On occasions where no home could be found, then the item was disposed of.


A recent review at one of the store rooms in Gressenhall was carried out, to see if items were suited to the collection. Previously, collections at Gressenhall had been uncontrolled which led to duplicate items or even objects falling into disrepair. 


The members were presented with a list of those items which were listed for disposal.


There was an item kept at Ancient House Museum in Thetford, which was a leather wall hanging.  It was understood that it was originally kept at Oxborough Hall and was suggested that this was returned to Oxborough.


Resolved to recommend to Joint Museum and Archaeology Committee that the objects listed in Annex 2 of Agenda Item 8 be de-accessioned.









Next Meeting

To agree a date and venue for the next meeting.


The next meeting will be held on Friday 10 February 2012 at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.