Ten of Norfolk’s most unusual museums

Quirky museums in Norfolk: Davenport's Magic Kingdom, John Jarrold Printing Museum and The Hippodrom

Quirky museums in Norfolk: Davenport's Magic Kingdom, John Jarrold Printing Museum and The Hippodrome Circus Museum. (L-R) - Credit: Archant

It's no secret that Norfolk is home to many weird and wonderful things, including an array of museums filled with items such as seashells and straw. Here's a look at some of the quirkiest museums our county has to offer.

The John Jarrold Printing Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The John Jarrold Printing Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

• John Jarrold Printing Museum, Norwich

Founded in 1982, this museum is intended to preserve traditional printing skills and is run entirely by retired printers. The JJPM is only open on Wednesdays from 9.30am to 12.30pm, during which time visitors can browse various machinery and printing relics, including a 19th century hand-operated printing press and lithographic hand presses.

Compositor's tools laid out at the John Jarrold Printing Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Compositor's tools laid out at the John Jarrold Printing Museum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The Shell Museum, Glandford

Built in 1915 by Sir Alfred Jodrell, The Shell Museum is the oldest purpose-built museum in the county and is home to a large collection of seashells from all over the world, as well as jewels, a piece of Pompeii, and fragments of old pottery. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday between Easter and the end of October, including Bank Holidays.

The Shell Museum, in Glandford near Holt. Part of one of the displays. Picture by Keiron Tovell

The Shell Museum, in Glandford near Holt. Part of one of the displays. Picture by Keiron Tovell - Credit: EDP Pics © 2004

The Straw Museum, Colby

Attached to the side of Ella Carstairs' home, you'll find the free to visit Museum of Straw Works, her own unique museum featuring straw hats, corn dolls and Swiss straw lace as well as examples of other crafts such as beadwork and tatting.

Straw Museum, Colby Ella Carstairs runs her Stram Museum from her home. It is full of historical and

Straw Museum, Colby Ella Carstairs runs her Stram Museum from her home. It is full of historical and craft items from around the world all made from straw. Photo: Colin Finch - Credit: Archant © 2004

• Dad's Army Museum, Thetford

Opened in 2007, the Dad's Army Museum in Thetford has attracted many visitors keen to learn more about the production of the iconic comedy show. The independently run business is open on Tuesday and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm and boasts a collection of memorabilia from the television programme and the recent film.

Dads Army Museum in Thetford, Pic shows Rodney Scott in Home Guard Dress outside the museum. PHOTO;

Dads Army Museum in Thetford, Pic shows Rodney Scott in Home Guard Dress outside the museum. PHOTO; Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

• Davenport's Magic Kingdom, North Walsham


You may also want to watch:


This unique attraction explores 500 years of magic history and features an exhibition of artefacts dating back to the 16th century. Take a look at a reproduction of Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Tank, a first edition of the 1584 book Discoverie of Witchcraft and learn all about the Davenport family and their magical journey that spans five generations.

Davenport's Magic Kingdom, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Davenport's Magic Kingdom, North Walsham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, Fakenham

Housed inside Fakenham's former gasworks which produced gas for the town from 1846 to 1965, the Museum of Gas and Local History provides visitors with a look at what life was like for those in the town between 1800 and 1970. It is the last remaining town gasworks in the country and is complete with gas street lamps, gas meters and water heaters.

The Museum of Gas and Local History. Photo: Matthew Usher

The Museum of Gas and Local History. Photo: Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

Hippodrome Circus Museum, Great Yarmouth

Most Read

The Circus Museum in Yarmouth contains over 100 years of performance memorabilia and is open to visit after every circus and water show. The museum includes vintage lighting and sound equipment, old costumes, props and a collection of clown heads.

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection

Artefacts stored at the Hippodrome Circus Museum in Great Yarmouth. Part of the Peter Jay collection. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Wind Energy Museum, Repps with Bastwick

Located in Repps with Bastwick, close to Potter Heigham, The Wind Energy Museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of wind power and thus has an extensive collection of wind pumps, steam engines and models of various mills.

The Wind Energy Museum in Repps with Astwisk pictured visitors looking around the museum. Picture: M

The Wind Energy Museum in Repps with Astwisk pictured visitors looking around the museum. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum, Norwich

For over 200 years, Colman's has been making mustard in Norfolk and this long running tradition is celebrated in the fine city in the Mustard Shop and Museum within the Royal Arcade. The shop is home to a range of memorabilia, such as wartime mustard tins and pots, and provides insight into the history and production of the mustard.

Colman's Mustard shop and museum in Norwich's Royal Arcade. Photo: Bill Smith

Colman's Mustard shop and museum in Norwich's Royal Arcade. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

• South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection, Norwich

Inside the Old Skating Rink on Bethel Street, you'll find various exhibitions of objects and crafts from South Asia dating predominantly from the 19th to the 20th century. The SADACC is full of rugs, carvings, paintings, and furniture, but it's not just the collection that must be observed - the Victorian building it is housed within is a sight to behold as well.

Yali, India, late 19th/early 20th century collection, upper level of the Old Skating Rink.

Yali, India, late 19th/early 20th century collection, upper level of the Old Skating Rink. - Credit: Archant

• What's your favourite museum in Norfolk? Let us know in the comments below.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter