Agenda and minutes

Venue: Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Museum, Gressenhall

Contact: Fiona Lund (01362 869251) 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2011.


The minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2011 were agreed as a correct record.



To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr C Clark, Cllr P Darby, Cllr Kiddle-Morris, Cllr D Irving, Cllr J Bracey and Vanessa Trevelyan.


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.





Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Report by the Western Area Manager.


Additional documents:


Mr Hanley informed the Group that the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service had been successful in receiving major funding from the East Arts Council.  This meant the work of the museum service within Norfolk had been recognised nationally and this was really good for Norfolk, and in particular Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum and Ancient House Museum.

This would mean that the museums could plan with confidence over the next 3 years, and that core activities would be continued.


Mr Robin Hanley presented the report which covered the period from October 2011 to January 2012.


In October 2011, Gressenhall held its key event ‘Apple Day’ which attracted over 3000 people, which was a rise compared to previous years.


During Autumn and Winter 2011 Gressenhall successful trialled pre-booked events.  The first of these was ‘Witches in the Workhouse’ for Halloween that attracted 144 visitors. 


The second was a ‘Victorian Christmas Family’ event held over two days and this attracted 470 visitors.  The event used resources already in place from the Victorian Christmas school programme which ran during December.


As both events were pre-booked and pre-paid this meant staff could cater for the numbers and therefore reduce wastage.


The Museum would be open for February half-term during Monday to Friday.  Facilities would be limited due to the site building works continuing; however there would be a reduced admission price to reflect this.


A ‘Rediscover Gressenhall’ marketing campaign was being planned to mark the new season.  The campaign would target local people and would include a reduced admission voucher for use during April.  Vouchers would be distributed through a range of local outlets including schools and would appear in a number of local parish magazines.  The campaign would link to the email sign-up which was designed to reduce marketing costs and support growth in Museum Pass sales.


The 2012 Event Programme had been confirmed following a detailed review and evaluation of 2011 events.  There would be some new additions including events to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  On Sunday 29 July, Gressenhall would be hosting a ‘Festival on the Farm’ event for Breckland District Council.  A new event ‘How does your garden grow’ would be held on 6 May to promote horticulture.


Gressenhall continued to host the Monument Fellowship where the former retired curator, Bridget Yates was working closely with the current Curator, Megan Dennis to share her extensive knowledge.


The programme had been extended to focus on the re-display of the seed merchant displays in Village Row.


There was extensive building work being carried out on the site.  This included relocating the ticket entrance and shop to existing space within the centre of the facility to provide an improved visitor service.  The existing entrance and shop would be altered to provide improved visitor toilet facilities.


Re-roofing and re-decoration works was being undertaken on Village Row, and improvements to paths in the laundry area, and re-carpeting of key public areas including the Collections Gallery.


Friends of Gressenhall continued to support a range  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Collections Review pdf icon PDF 59 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.


This was the third phase at Gressenhall and those objects identified for deaccessioning and dispersal was listed in Annex 1 of the report.


A member asked if some of the items would be useful to a sculptor.  The Curator thought this was a good idea and would look into it.


The Chairman thank Ms Dennis for her report.



Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Report of the Curator, Ancient House.



Mr Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from October 2011 to January 2012.


Work continued on the exhibition of mapping the town using maps, photographs, objects and models. 

The display would be open in May 2012 and would also include a section on underground tunnels and pits of Thetford.


Ancient House was participating in a joint project with Leicester University focussing on the tombs of Dukes of Norfolk, who were buried at Thetford Priory. Further information was available on the project website


The World War Two theme currently displayed at Ancient House would end Easter 2012.


There was a busy programme of events and activities planned for 2012.  The museum groups: History Club, Teenage History Club, Museum Club, Knit and Knatter, Learn to Knit, Stitch in Time and Mini Museum Club for Under 5s would all continue.


The Ancient House Museum would contribute to Norfolk’s American Trail.  A Project Officer would be appointed to oversee the varied programme which ran from July to November 2012.


October Half term had been very busy for the Museum as they were involved in a BBC Hands on History event which proved very popular with children creating Roman mosaics and other Iceni crafts.


On 2 December the Museum opened late to link in with the switch on of the Christmas lights in the town.  Over 250 visitors enjoyed a range of activities provided by the museum.


The Teenage History Club had made a docudrama on the life of Dr Minns, the first black mayor in Britain who worked at Thetford Workhouse in the early part of 20th Century.  The film was shown to parents in November at Ancient House.  The young people made the film as part of their Bronze Arts Award.


The Ancient House Knit and Knatter group had made remembrance poppy badges which were sold in aid of the Royal British Legion.  As a thank you, the Group enjoyed an illustrated talk on Witney blankets from Jamie Everett.


A collection of Circus programmes dating from the 1940s to the 1980s had been donated to the Ancient House Museum.


The Friends Group continued to support the museum and a number of new committee members had joined the group.  A programme of talks had been scheduled to take place during six afternoons throughout the year.


In early January, two Young Thetford Treasure volunteers arranged two evening events at Ancient House using funding from their Marsh Award.  The Night at the Museum events included various activities such as creating shadow puppets.


Visitor numbers to Ancient House had seen a slight increase which was very pleasing.


A Member asked if there had been any coverage in the Local Press on Youth events that were held at the Museum.  The Curator responded by saying that they should use this facility more, and would take it as a useful reminder.


The Chairman thanked Mr Bone for his report.












Next Meeting

To agree a date and venue for the next meeting.


The next meeting will be held on Friday 15 June at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.