Date for museum's reopening 'pencilled in' after missing whole 2020 season

Wymondham Heritage Museum is cautiously optimistic that it may be able to reopen to limited visitors around Easter time.

Wymondham Heritage Museum is cautiously optimistic that it may be able to reopen to limited visitors around Easter time. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

A museum which has documented the history of a Norfolk market town has "pencilled in" a potential date for reopening to the public after a "frustrating" year.

Wymondham Heritage Museum, based in the historic Bridewell, usually opens between March and October every year and boasts a wealth of information about the town's past.

However, despite volunteers working hard on displays for 2020, the museum was open for less than a month as it closed its doors at the end of last March and decided to axe its entire season.

The committee had hoped to reopen as normal for 2021, but have once again been forced to delay as England went into another national lockdown.

There is now cause for optimism, though, after committee members decided to "pencil in" Easter as a possible working date to prepare to reopen whenever restrictions allow.

The museum's publicity manager Neil Haverson said: "Usually, this is the time of year when it’s all systems go for the Wymondham Heritage Museum’s committee.

"Putting the finishing touches to new displays, refreshing the old ones and sprucing up The Bridewell, recruiting and training volunteers, stocking the tearoom and generally making sure everything is shipshape for the new season.

"But, of course, this year is different. The museum closed in March last year and hasn’t been able to welcome visitors since – and it could be some time before the doors are opened again."

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Mr Haverson added that reopening would be subject to the restrictions in place at the time, and admitted there is much to be done before the museum can safely welcome visitors once again.

He said: "Perspex screens to keep the stewards on reception safe, a one-way system avoiding the pinch points in the narrow corridors, handling cash and access to the tearoom. And, of course, provision of PPE, masks and hand sanitiser.

"When restrictions are lifted the museum will be an ideal destination for people anxious to get out and about. When it had to close, the newly-built shop displays had just been unveiled – the 1930s Damgate Stores and the late Victorian hardware shop, the Little Dustpan.

"These will be among the fascinating exhibitions awaiting visitors who want to explore the history of the town and its people."

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