Campaign launched to help Broads Museum

It charts the history of one Norfolk's most important natural features and now a campaign is being launched to secure the future of the Museum of Broads.

It charts the history of one Norfolk's most important natural features and now a campaign is being launched to secure the future of the Museum of Broads.

The £125,000 appeal was kicked off last night to raise cash to buy the set of waterside buildings in Stalham which go to make up the unique museum.

With collections of boats, tools, diaries and brochures, the museum charts the story of the Broads and the people who have worked and shaped the Broadland landscape over the centuries.

Trustees are asking people to dig deep to enable the Museum of the Broads charity to buy the buildings.

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Museum chairman Pamela Masters said it was really important that they owned the museum because then they could keep it for future generations.

“It is a unique museum, there is no other museum in the county that tells the story of the people who live in Broadland,” she said.

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Popular Norfolk raconteur and EDP columnist Keith Skipper added his own contribution to the museum's treasure trove of memorabilia. He donated old costumes worn by Broadsman and EDP Norfolk dialect letter writer Sidney Grapes. He also donated records of his stories, jokes and bookings which had been given to him by Mr Grapes' niece, Marjorie Ostler, who lives in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Mr Skipper said Sidney Grapes would have loved the project. “I am sure he is looking down from the great Norfolk gathering in the sky to wish this appeal bon voyage and every success.”

The buildings which the museum wants to purchase housed the historic collections after it moved up the river from Potter Heigham eight years ago. The museum idea was hatched by a group of enthusiasts in 1992 and developed into a fledgling attraction at Potter Heigham for four years before moving to Stalham Staithe in 2000.

Historically the staithe buildings were used to store cargo from wherries in the days when the Broads were a major transport link and employer.

The museum's bid to own its own home has already been thwarted by two failed lottery bids which has led the charity to make its first public appeal to help fund the venture.

The volunteer-manned museum attracts 8,000 visitors each year from holidaymakers to school groups.

Museum patron Henry Cator said: “This is an achievable sum. We need £125,000 first to make this our home and then it will be other things. It is so important to protect what is special to the region.”

The Museum of the Broads is open daily 10.30am-5pm until the end of October. For more information about the attraction and the appeal, contact 01692 581681.

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