Preparing for Rural Lives


We have had a wonderful day today preparing for our temporary exhibition Rural lives. This combines contemporary portrait photography by photographer J.A. Mortram with portraits from our historical collections. It is hoped that the exhibition will help people to reflect on their own rural lives, and the lives of those around them. There will be a space for reflection and a chance to contribute to the exhibition in our “Your Rural Lives” section.


Mummified Cat

For the redevelopment of the Collection Gallery we are putting back on display our ‘marmite’ object. When we asked visitors for feedback on the gallery the most talked about object was this cat. For good and bad. One visitor said it was even worse than the stuffed sheep. It even sparked debate with one visitor telling everyone else to leave the poor cat alone!

Mummified Cats are occasionally found concealed within the walls and roofs of old cottages. It is thought that cats were placed in buildings as foundation sacrifices.

This cat was found in 1983 during renovation work of a fifteenth century house at Thetford under the threshold of one of the doors. This location suggests that it was buried as protection for the building. The builders refused to continue work until the cat was removed!


Interesting, cool, amazing and awesome!

Word cloud of visitor surveys for new workhouse galleries at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

This is a word cloud of how our visitors described our new workhouse galleries when they visited last year. We love that they thought the displays were interesting, cool, amazing and awesome!

The survey results  also told us that:

Visitors learnt ‘How recently it was used for elderly care, as tend to think workhouses were Victorian’

‘We have learnt a lot about the life and times in the workhouse – well done’

‘All of the displays combine to bring the building and its history to life in a most imaginative and informative way.’

‘There’s such a vast improvement all round. It’s much nicer for children and families alike.’

‘[I was surprised by the] number of people who left the workhouse with a trade and a future.’

‘[It gave me] reflection space – [and made me consider that the] problem of how to look after the poor is still a very modern issue.’

‘Imagining what it would have been like and the people and how our lives have changes. What they were thinking and feeling.’

We love to know what you think about our new galleries. We are open Mon- Fri next week for February half term and then everyday from the 5th March to 29th October 2017.


Fun for all

This afternoon we had fun testing our new tablet tool with our Front of House staff. We shaved heads, rolled marbles and dressed dolls. We also all learnt something more about the workhouse. As one person put it “I came out into the courtyard feeling like I really learnt more about this place and understood what it was like to live here in the past”.

We hope our visitors feel the same when they get a chance to use them for the first time this Spring.