Museum bosses delighted with figures

IAN CLARKE Business is booming at Norfolk's museums, accord-ing to visitor figures. Last year more than 300,000 people visited the county's attractions which celebrate life in the past - with the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and Time & Tide Museum at Yarmouth seeing record numbers of visitors.

IAN CLARKE

Business is booming at Norfolk's museums, accord-ing to visitor figures.

Last year more than 300,000 people visited the county's attractions which celebrate life in the past - with the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and Time & Tide Museum at Yarmouth seeing record numbers of visitors.

Museum bosses are delighted, especially as several buildings were closed for part of the year for redevelopment work.

The overall visitor figures for 2005/6 at the 14 museums was 313,644 - which beat the target figure by 34,000.

The total was 3000 down on the previous year, but the drop has been put down to the ongoing redevelopments.

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More than 30,000 school children visited museums during the year, a jump of 24pc - and about 2300 museum passes were bought or renewed, an increase of 60 pc.

Charles Wilde, development and marketing officer for the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, said: "Overall attendance figures for 2005-6 are very positive. Investment over the past few years in developing high quality museums and services to meet the needs of people has been repaid in buoyant visitor figures."

He said Gressenhall, Cromer and Yarmouth museums had received "significant invest-ment" in marketing from European funding but that money runs out next March.

The Time & Tide museum at Yarmouth opened in 2004 and operated part of the week, but now it opens every day.

Visitor numbers for Norfolk museums for 2005/06 (2004/05 total in brackets): Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery - 145,321 (151,144); Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse - 57,926 (56,747); Norwich Shirehall - 3035 (1741); Carrow House Costume and Textiles Study Centre, Norwich - 1892 (1804); Bridewell Museum, Norwich - 5053 (3889); Strangers Hall, Norwich - 3690 (5501); Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, Norwich - 3069 (3204); Tollhouse Museum, Yarmouth - 4833 (5260); Elizabethan House, Yarmouth - 10,309 (10,139); Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life - 43,449 (21,898); Lynn Museum - nil, closed for redevelopment (3948); Town House, Lynn - 6498 (6493); Cromer Museum - 1739, only reopened March 28 (8908); Ancient House, Thetford - nil, closed for redevelopment (8908).