Venue: Meeting Room, Level 5, Breckland House, St Nicholas Street, Thetford, IP24 1BT
Contact: Teresa Smith
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2012.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2012 were agreed as a correct record.
Apologies (Agenda Item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence had been received from Mr Bracey, Mr Brindle, Mr Clark, Mr Kybird, Mr Jordan and Vanessa Trevelyan.
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)
The Chairman welcomed Josh Giles a Skills for the Future trainee based at Gressenhall, and Ruth Burwood who was providing maternity cover for Megan Dennis, curator of Gressenhall.
He also passed the Committee’s congratulations to Megan on the recent birth of her baby.
Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 5)
Members are no longer required to declare personal or prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in the Register of Interests. Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.
In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.
No declarations were made.
Report of the Curator, Ancient House.
Mr Oliver Bone presented his report for the period June to September 2012.
The current exhibition looked at the story of Thetford through maps. A flyer had gone out to all households advertising the exhibition and the Museum was selling souvenir tea-towels with stitched maps.
The next exhibition ‘Hard Times’ would run from January to July and would focus on living and working conditions in the past, offering an alternative to the ‘rose-tinted’ view often associated with past times. It would include reference to workhouses and to the work camps for unemployed people set up in Thetford Forest after the First World War.
In the summer the Museum would be running a ‘Thetford’s Lost Tudor Sculptures’ exhibition featuring the findings of a research project into the monuments of the Dukes of Norfolk at Thetford Priory and artefacts from the British Museum, Norwich Castle and Framlingham Castle. There would be a reconstruction of the tombs of the Dukes of Norfolk and screens would be hung in the brick niches of the Museum with talking portraits explaining Tudor power and politics.
The project would pay the Museum a fee to provide free admission and it was hoped that this would help to boost visitor numbers. As part of the project, an App for smart phones was being created for Thetford Priory, to help to enhance the potential of the site with schools and other groups.
On Saturday 7 September 2013 there would be an Event at Thetford Priory which would be part of the Thetford Festival.
The Arts Awards Programme, was continuing to do well with children gaining awards in various categories.
A further project with Norfolk County Council was spotlighting the links between Norfolk and North America. This had created a lot of community participation and it was hoped to do a similar project to mark the World War One centenary in 2014.
The Museums Accreditation Scheme was a National Scheme requiring the Museum to complete a detailed application form using new standards and supplying evidence about management, access, services and collections care. The Ancient House Museum had been in the first tranche of museums to achieve full Accreditation and could now use the logo. Charles Burrell Museum was also working towards achieving accreditation and Ancient House would be helping them with that.
Mr Hanley noted that the new standards had brought with them a great deal of additional work and it was a credit to Mr Bone’s endeavours that the Ancient House had achieved accreditation.
Mr Blackburn entirely agreed with that.
Mr Bone said that it was an opportunity for museums to work together.
Moving on with his report he said that a new Youth Engagement Officer had been appointed and would focus on working with needy young people, in partnership with the Benjamin Foundation and the Matthew Project.
He then gave some examples of the Museum assisting in the planning process.
Report by Western Area Manager.
Dr Robin Hanley presented his report for the period June to September. It contained a lot of event information, but the key feature of the year had been the weather which had made it a difficult year.
The impact of the Olympics had been expected to result in a 20% decline in visitor numbers nationally and that had been compounded by the bad weather. The History Fair had been badly affected with visitor numbers only half of the previous year’s. A review would be carried out on how to approach the History Fair in future as it had been in decline for some time.
The August Bank Holiday, ‘Village at War’ event had had reasonable weather. It had linked in to the Norfolk County Council North American connection project and had used the ‘friendly invasion’ theme. There had been good visitor numbers and it remained a strong event.
The next event on the calendar was Apple Day. It was one of the more weatherproof events and anyway the forecast was reasonable. There would be lots of stalls and activities and visitor numbers were expected to be good.
A new event had been the Festival on the Farm which had been run with Breckland Council to celebrate art, nature and sport. It was one of the smaller event days and as visitor numbers had been good it might be run again next year.
The Father’s Day event was truly inter-generational and had featured a farrier’s apprentice working in the courtyard and a Meccano display among other things. It continued to grow in popularity. Another successful event had been ‘Food Glorious Food’ held on 15 July. There had been a range of producers and retailers on site and good numbers had attended.
The Archaeology Day had formed part of a UK-wide festival of British Archaeology. It had included activities such as flint knapping and clay pot making. It was hoped to make it a full day event next year and to attract higher numbers of visitors.
The ‘Remember When’ event, which was aimed at the over 55s had not done well and would be reviewed due to its low attendance figures. It may have run its course. On the other hand the Horse Power event had had a record number of Heavy Horses working on site and increased visitor numbers. It was an event that appeared to have the capacity to grow.
During the summer holidays there had been a busy programme of activities and these had been advertised in leaflets which had been delivered to all Litcham and Dereham schools. Visitor numbers had been sustained and the same level of marketing was planned for next year.
The Heritage Open Day, which had been free of charge, had coincided with the Tour of Britain and the weather had been good. It was not clear why so many people had attended, but it had been successful beyond expectations.
With regard to development at the Museum, an evaluation of spending behaviour had been undertaken ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
Report presented by Ruth Burwood, Gressenhall Curator.
Ruth Burwood presented the report which set out the background to the review of the collections at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and recommended the de-accessioning of a group of social history items that were in poor condition and outside the NMAS Acquisition and Disposal policy.
She asked that item three in the Phase 4 – Large Objects list be withdrawn for further consideration as more information had been discovered about the oven.
The majority of items on the lists were unidentified and had not been formally accessioned and some items were duplicates. The usual procedures for disposal or dispersal would be followed.
Mr Kiddle-Morris asked about the resource implications referred to in paragraph three of the report. Mr Hanley explained that there was a contingency fund for rationalisations within the budget, it had not been required previously, but it was available.
It was also clarified that Gressenhall was not alone in reviewing its collections. There was a cross service rationalisation project.
Members AGREED that the objects listed in Annex 1 to the report, with the exception of Item No 3, be recommended to be de-accessioned.
Next Meeting (Agenda Item 9)
To agree a date and venue for the next meeting.
It was noted that the next meeting would be held at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum on Friday 15 February 2013 at 2.00pm.