Apart from attracting record-breaking crowds to Norwich Castle, what have the Romans ever done for us?
06:30 27 February 2014
They came. They saw. They conquered. A blockbuster exhibition of more than 160 Roman artefacts from the British Museum helped Norwich Castle attract record-breaking crowds last week.
The Roman Empire: Power and People opened its doors to the public on February 1, and saw more than 10,000 people visit the museum over half-term.
Rachel Kirk, Norwich museums manager, said the exhibition’s early popularity had given an early indication that the museum could see large crowds, but in the event numbers increased from 8,712 on Monday to Sunday in half-term last year to 10,053 in the same period this year. On two days, numbers topped 1,800.
Photo gallery: Preview of Romans exhibition at Norwich Castle
Ms Kirk said: “We have had really positive feedback. Even on our busiest days, when there are a lot of people queuing, we have not had any complaints. People have been happy to queue to come in and the cafe has done a roaring trade.”
She said the programme of half-term events, which included three performances of a mini-pantomime about Boudicca, an arch-enemy of the Romans, added to the appeal, and further events were planned for each week until the exhibition closes on April 27.
Margaret Wilkinson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for community services, said: “We’re having a record-breaking time at Norwich Castle museum, with the exhibition looking set to break all visitor records since the Castle reopened to the public in 2001. And this, combined with the fantastic programme of events over half-term, saw our highest ever number of visitors in a week since the reopening.
“The fact that we are able to borrow such significant treasures from the British Museum is a real coup for Norfolk, and testament to the expertise and excellence of our museums’ service and staff.
“I’m delighted the hard work that has gone into these events and exhibitions is really paying off and hope that the success in bringing in the crowds sees a boost for the city as a whole.
“For anyone who has enjoyed what is on at the moment we’ve got another exhibition opening on 23 May – The Wonder of Birds – which is expected to be another high flyer!”
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