Agenda item

Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life

Report of Curator, Ancient House.


Mr Oliver Bone presented the report which covered the period from February to September 2013.


There had been two exhibitions during this period at Ancient House, with the current one being Thetfords Lost Tudor Sculptures.  A guide book had been written by the principal investigator of the research project, Mr Phillip Lindley and was circulated to members.


Project Funding allowed free admission to Ancient House during August and September, when normal charges apply, which resulted in significantly increased visitor figures.


The previous exhibition was based on ‘Hard Times’ and looked at life of the poor 100 years ago.  A star object on display was a rare workhouse doll loaned from Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.


Members were informed that forthcoming themes were being looking at including Toys and Games of the last 50 years and would be open Easter 2014.


The Museum was actively involved with co-ordinating commemorations for the centenary of the Great War which would be held during 2014.


Last October, Thetford and the museum were visited by a group from Japan keen to build cultural exchange with the Thetford area.  There were hopes of developing student exchanges, internet resources exhibitions and other forms of connections using the rich archaeological heritage of both areas, particularly flint and obsidian.


A mobile app had been developed to link with the Thetford Lost Tudor exhibition, and was being used around Thetford Priory.


A Museum trainee had been working on developing a social media presence of Ancient House. Both Twitter and Facebook accounts had been set up which was used to highlight events and provide links with other museums.


Ancient House was trialling a £2 pre-ordered goody bag for visiting school groups, particularly suited to their themed visit and had received good feedback on this.


The Museum continued to benefit from a Curatorial Assistant Museums Trainee, Sarah Cassell as part of the Teaching Museum scheme.  Sarah said the placement had been varied and she had been particularly involved in outreach activities in Kings Street.  She had really enjoyed the placement which would finish in January 2014.


The Museum had been very busy with activities and in particular the family museum trails, of which Mr Bone expressed his thanks to the Friends of Ancient House for supporting this project.


Volunteers of the Museum continued to work on scanning images from the museum collections to provide better access and to assist enquirers.  Friends of Thetford Museum had provided valuable support including the promotion of Museum at Thetford’s Night Market.


Visitor numbers were circulated and Mr Bone said the figures were very encouraging and had increased compared with 2012.


Mr Smyth asked if the Museum had been in contact with the Imperial War Museum for the commemorative celebrations in 2014.  Mr Bone confirmed that he had been liaising with them.


Mrs Spencer mentioned that she had visited the Lost Tudor Sculpture exhibition and said it was fascinating and was stunned at the different types of sculptures.  She asked how much of it was also at Framlingham.


Mr Bone said that whilst there was some sculptures at Framlingham, the Church had the best examples of monuments.


Mrs Paines said that Friends of Ancient House were working very hard and were involved in all talks and events held at the museum.  She was proud that it was becoming more of a community museum.


The Chairman thanked Mr Bone for his report.


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