Group which has worked hard to bring a permanent museum to Watton receive £61,300 funding boost from Heritage Lottery Fund
- Credit: Ian Burt
A group set up to bring a permanent museum to a Breckland town has been given a financial boost.
Museum4Watton was launched two years ago with the aim of creating a space where artefacts from the town and surrounding villages could be viewed by the public and preserved.
In July a lease was signed with Watton Town Council allowing the group to house the museum in two rooms of the Grade-II listed Wayland Hall.
And now to help provide by display cases, redecorate the rooms, train volunteers and buy equipment, Museum4Watton has received £61,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Chris Hutchings, chairman of the board of trustees, said: 'We had decided we were going to open the museum anyway, even if we did not get the money.
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'But it means we can give it the professional finish we could not have given it without the money.'
The idea for a permanent museum for the town first came about in 2014. The group was formed the following year and Mr Hutchings said it has been two-and-a-half years of 'very hard work'.
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The ground floor will be an education and research room which will contain desks, two touch screen computers and a larger 54 inch screen. School groups will be able to visit and organisations will be able to display their heritage.
Upstairs will be the exhibition room, which will house artefacts which have been loaned or given to the museum by residents or other organisations.
Items include fossils, coins, and a model of a human skeleton, named Hero, which was found by developers during building work in the town.
There are documents and books containing the records of the court baron of the Manor of Watton Hall from 1670 to 1924 and photographs and items relating to RAF Watton.
The official opening will be in March 2018.
Mr Hutchings added: 'The most important thing is that we are going to be preserving the heritage for the next generation to see. If you don't preserve it then it will not be here.
'I think we still cannot believe it has happened. It is a good thing for the town.'
On Sunday the museum will be open for a one-off event during the town's carnival.
Between 11am and 3pm there will be tea and coffee and displays.
The group are always looking for items to display. For more information email email@example.com