Visitors step back in time at museum’s Victorian discovery day
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Families visiting a Norfolk museum took a step back in time to learn how the Victorians kept their houses neat and tidy.
During the Victorian period, it was believed that cleaning was good for you and spring was the best time for dusting and washing after the home has been shut up through the Winter.
At Thetford’s Ancient House Museum’s discovery day, children were able to learn about the different cleaning methods from the era, including brown sauce to polish copperware and banana skins to polish shoes.
While their grandparents were taken back to their childhoods as they watched a demonstration by costumed characters of washing clothes with a mangle.
Melissa Hawker, the museum’s learning officer, said: “The idea is that if you were clean in your house and appearance then you were morally clean. It was a very important idea in preventing disease.
“The Victorians believed if they eliminated bad smells people did not get sick but they did not know it was not the bad smells causing it.”
On the event she added: “We want to let families get hands on. Days like this give people an opportunity to engage and they meet people who are dressed up.
“They have the opportunity and see and touch objects and find out the connect between that object and ones we use today. The sensory experiences are very good at giving understanding and learning.”
Other fun activities included the tea taste challenge.
Guests were asked to try and name the variety of teas - with Afternoon Tea a past time of the upper classes.
No afternoon tea would be complete without cucumber sandwiches, with children encouraged to make their own Victorian style snack.
Volunteer of 10 years, Annie Sanger, said: “It is fun and it is interesting and we want children and adults to come the museum and see it is an active place.”
The museum has an exhibitions on the Thetford-born political activist Thomas Paine. And it also holds a variety of events for children and adults throughout the year. This includes on Tuesday, May 29, when visitors will be able to meet the Tudors and the history of Ancient House.
For more information call the museum at 01842 752599 or visit Ancient House Museum on Facebook.