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Norfolk museum keen to welcome its 1,000,000th visitor, ahead of 40th anniversary

The museum opening in 1978. Picture: Supplied by Alistair Murphy.

The museum opening in 1978. Picture: Supplied by Alistair Murphy.

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Nearly one million people have visited Cromer Museum since it opened 40 years ago.

East House,– the property that stood by the bus stop until 1942, when it was destroyed by bombs. Picture: supplied by Alistair Murphy.East House,– the property that stood by the bus stop until 1942, when it was destroyed by bombs. Picture: supplied by Alistair Murphy.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the museum is hosting a special event day on June 23, highlighting its special collections, from ancient giants to pioneering women. There will also be Punch and Judy shows, face painting and live interpreters.”

Although the museum did not open until 1978, Thomas Fowell Buxton, of Colne House in Cromer, sent a letter to the Secretary of the Norwich Museum in 1868 to say that “certain gentlemen in Cromer are anxious to set afoot a local museum”.

Over the years several possible sites were considered but it was not until the 1970s that the town saw its dreams realised, following the renovation of a near derelict terrace of cottages which were turned into a museum.

At a simple ceremony, Lady Preston of Cromer Hall on behalf of Cromer Town Council declared the museum open and handed over its care to the Norfolk Museums Service.

The quarter millionth visitor taken in August 1978. Picture: Alistair MurphyThe quarter millionth visitor taken in August 1978. Picture: Alistair Murphy

Alistair Murphy, who has worked at Cromer Museum for 32 years and been curator for 10 years, said: “The museum has gone from strength to strength, and we have had nearly 1m visitors since 1978.

“In less than six months prior to the opening a gifted young curator, Jane Anne Bagnall-Oakley had shaped the displays and the collections which form the cornerstone of the museum to this day.

“The museum was established in a difficult financial climate but it was evidently justified for, despite its tiny scale, it has always been among the top three or four most visited county museums.

“In 1981 the collection was enhanced when the museum acquired an important local history collection created by the late Cyril Crawford Holden.

Alistair Murphy and Marc Allum of Antiques Road Show.Alistair Murphy and Marc Allum of Antiques Road Show.

“In the ‘90s the museum became the base for the Norfolk Documentation Project. Led by Martin Warren, a small team has been creating a computer record for every object held in the county by the Norfolk Museums Service.

“Since then the most significant development in the museum was the acquisition of the Olive Edis collection in 2008. Cromer holds the largest collection by some margin of her work in the world.”

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