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Major exhibitions help draw record numbers to Norfolk’s museums

PUBLISHED: 15:20 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:59 26 April 2018

Nelson and Norfolk exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Nelson and Norfolk exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Record numbers of people are heading to Norfolk’s museums, new figures have shown, with those in Norwich and Great Yarmouth seeing particular spikes in visitors.

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Jenny Moore,7,  in costume at the Time and Tide's Titanic exhibition. PHOTO: Nick Butcher. Jenny Moore,7, in costume at the Time and Tide's Titanic exhibition. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

More than 426,000 people went to the 10 museums run by Norfolk Museums Service between April 2017 and March 2018, a nine per cent increase on the year before.

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery saw 222,260 visitors, compared to 205,223 during the previous 12 months, with major exhibitions such as Nelson and Norfolk and Rembrandt: Lightening The Darkness pulling in visitors.

Great Yarmouth’s Time and Tide Museum attracted a record 45,219 people, an increase of 22pc on the previous year, boosted by its Titanic exhibition and also Only in England, a photographic touring exhibition from the Science & Media Museum Group.

Visitor numbers were up at nine of the 10 museums in the county, with only Thetford’s Ancient House seeing a drop.

Lord Nelson's great,great,great,great granddaughter Mary Artur visits the Nelson exhibition at Norwich Castle. 
Picture: Nick ButcherLord Nelson's great,great,great,great granddaughter Mary Artur visits the Nelson exhibition at Norwich Castle. Picture: Nick Butcher

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “The teams at all sites have done exceptionally well at offering visitors from near and far an amazing combination of exhibitions, events and activities over the last year.

“The Nelson and Norfolk exhibition attracted visitors from across the globe and has been shortlisted for a major national award. There are many more exciting projects to look forward to in the coming months.”

This year will see major touring exhibitions coming to Norfolk, as well as several bespoke offerings.

Forthcoming exhibitions include The Paston Treasure, Drawn to the Coast: Turner, Constable, Cotman, and Armistice, which will explore Norfolk’s response to the First World War.

The Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness exhibition at Norwich Castle. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness exhibition at Norwich Castle. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

There are also a number of special events throughout the year, including Museums at Night events at Norwich Castle, at Cromer museum and at Great Yarmouth’s Time and Tide, Tolhouse and Elizabethan House Museums in May.

Gressenhall will also host its event day Retro Revival on May Bank Holiday (May 28), with music, glamour and vintage treats from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Norfolk Museums Service is a partnership between Norfolk County Council and the county’s seven district councils.

How many visitors did each museum have?

Nine of the 10 Norfolk museums had higher numbers than the previous year.

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery; 222,260 (2016/17: 205,223)

Museum of Norwich; 17,328 (2016/17: 14,271)

Strangers Hall, Norwich; 11,360 (2016/17: 9,735)

Tolhouse Museum, Great Yarmouth; 4,147 (2016/17: 3,626)

Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth; 10,558 (2016/17: 9,428)

Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth; 45,219 (2016/17: 37,079)

Cromer Museum; 14,393 (2016/17: 14,203)

Lynn Museum; 16,403 (2016/17: 14,775)

Ancient House, Thetford; 9,654 (2016/17: 10,409)

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse; 66,021 (2016/17: 61,197)

Total number of visitors across the 10 sites: 426,110 (2016/17: 387,610)

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