When does something become museum piece?

SHAUN LOWTHORPE When does the bric-a-brac in the attic become a museum piece? That was the question posed by veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell to delegates of a national conference held in Norwich this weekend.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

When does the bric-a-brac in the attic become a museum piece?

That was the question posed by veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell to delegates of a national conference held in Norwich this weekend.

Ms Bakewell was the keynote speaker at the British Association of Friends of Museums which met in the city over the weekend.

"I'm interested in the link between the personal things we have and the things we see in museums," she said. "I've brought an old identity card and a maths exam paper I took when I was 13 with me to show the audience and get them thinking. I want to know whether there is a connection between everybody's junk and what's displayed in museums."

Fellow broadcaster and former Masterchef host Loyd Grossman, who is president of the BAFM, chaired the annual meeting held at the Castle Museum.

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No stranger to the museum, he opened the Anglo Saxon and Viking gallery two years ago, and he has a particular soft spot for a pair of Anglo-Saxon ice skates made from cattle bones.

"Norwich has a very active friends group which just shows that museum visiting isn't a minority interest," he said. "I hope this conference points out to people what an important museum this is and how much it contributes to the local community."

The main theme of the conference was the use of computer technology in museums.

Other events included a dinner hosted by former ITN political editor Michael Brunson at the Sainsbury Centre and a vist to Hougton Hall, the home of Lord Cholmondeley, who is the patron of the Friends of the Norwich Musuems.

David Mawson, vice-president and founder of the BAFM and the Norwich Friends, said the conference had grown since he organised the first one in the city in 1973 with 120 delegates taking part this year.

There is now also a world federation of museum friends.