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Museum’s future ‘guaranteed’ by £60,000 of grants

PUBLISHED: 12:56 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 19:02 13 July 2020

Sheringham museum director Lisa Little, who says £60,000 of grants have guaranteed the future of the seafront venue.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham museum director Lisa Little, who says £60,000 of grants have guaranteed the future of the seafront venue. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

Directors and trustees of a popular museum charting the seafaring history of a Norfolk coastal town say the venue’s future is secure thanks to more than £60,000 of grants.

Sheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Directors and trustees of a popular museum charting the seafaring history of a Norfolk coastal town have taken the “difficult” decision not to reopen for the summer season, but say the venue’s future is secure thanks to more than £60,000 of grants.

With its glass lookout tower, Sheringham Museum, which houses four historic lifeboats dating from 1884 to 1990, casts an impressive shadow on the town’s east promenade.

The venue, which attracts more than 15,000 visitors a year, was opened by the Duke of Kent in 2010 and replaced a row of town centre cottages which previously housed artefacts ranging from paintings and embroideries by famous fisherman artist John Craske, to fishermen’s ganseys and the complete interior of a local sadler’s shop.

Its success has meant the museum has not previously needed to rely on regular grants, but, after being forced to stay closed to protect its small army of volunteers, museum manager Lisa Litle says the £60,000 in grants from the Arts Council England and additional funding from North Norfolk District Council is a welcome boost.

The view from the tower of Sheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLThe view from the tower of Sheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“As a charity, we rely on our active volunteers, every single one of whom is over 70, and we need at least five people to open which makes things very difficult,” she said. “Having the money means we can be a stable force in the town that will still be here in years to come.”

It is hoped that a part-time, or phased re-opening will be possible before the end of the year, Ms Little added, but, while the doors are closed, work continues behind the scenes, with a £5,000 Art Fund grant enabling staff to set up the Gansey Heritage Knitting Network for England, which will be launched in November.

Other projects include adding to the museum’s catalogue of self-published books, a number of which are now on sale through the Net Loft, in Alaska, and working on a new acquisitions exhibition featuring children’s Dutch ganseys and other vintage knitwear.

Ms LIttle said: “Also, through improving our digital presence, people can view our new online taster exhibition and will be able to see films and view exhibits ahead of seeing them for real when we open again.”

Visitors to Sheringham Museum admire one of the town's famous lifeboats.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLVisitors to Sheringham Museum admire one of the town's famous lifeboats. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSheringham Museum, which will not be re-opening this summer to protect vulnerable volunteers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

One of Sheringham's famous lifeboats on show at the town's seafront museum.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of Sheringham's famous lifeboats on show at the town's seafront museum. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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