Rural Lives

We’re making progress in the Collections Gallery!

Although the gallery isn’t quite ready for objects to go back in the Curatorial team have taken the opportunity to start some jobs in there. Case tops have been made and will be fitted in the next couple of days. Next job is to clean the cases, Josh has made a start on cleaning the metal shelves! We will then put some plastazote in the cases to line the shelves.


Rural Lives

We’ve also started to install our temporary exhibition, Rural Lives, which features photographs of Norfolk people from the past and today.





Deciphering difficult handwriting

This week we held the first informal meeting of our volunteer research team. This team are working their way through 23 volumes of correspondence between the workhouse here at Gressenhall and the Poor Law Board (and its successors) in London. Every letter has been scanned or photographed by The National Archive in Kew where they are safely kept. The volunteers are now looking at each letter and cataloguing it. In time the catalogue and images of the letters will be published on the National Archives website so that they can be used by researchers and family historians without them needing to visit Kew. Very worthwhile and fascinating work. Many thanks to our wonderful research volunteers for their painstaking work deciphering often very difficult handwriting.

Lighting almost complete

Last week the electricians were busy putting new track lighting into the Collections Gallery. This is now complete. Whilst there are not a large number of spotlights on the track yet, what this does is gives us the flexibility to add additional lights later when budget allows. For now we have sufficient to light up the room so visitors can find their way about and not so much that the light damages the collections.

The installation of this last bit of lighting means that we now have three options for lighting – 1) no lights, 2) track lights (for normal opening), 3) central lighting focus (for activities in the central family area which need a bit more light).

There are a few problems with the case lighting which are being sorted this week, ready for installation to start next week.


Since the beginning of the project we have hired a number containers to store collections temporarily whilst everything was being moved around. Last week the collections team made a Herculean effort to remove all the objects from these containers and find permanent homes for them – mostly in the Norfolk Collections Centre. This is great as it means they can be properly cared for. The environmental conditions in the containers are far from perfect for long term storage so we are really pleased to get the collections out of them. This has now been completed with the help of Wayne from the Norfolk Collections Centre.

This week we hope to install Rural Lives – our temporary exhibition for 2017 on Friday – so hopefully we will be able to open that very soon.


Ripon Workhouse


This week has been rather quieter as we have entered the Easter School Holiday.

Work in the Collections Gallery has slowed as our contractors are busy with schools. But our case lighting is now complete and we are looking forward to the track lighting going in starting this week.


Our curator, Megan, spent a few interesting couple of days at Ripon Workhouse Museum. She was invited to speak about the Voices from the Workhouse project at Ripon Museums’ AGM. They have just purchased the main block of their workhouse from North Yorkshire Council (pictured) and are beginning to plan what they will do with it. Exciting times for Ripon.

This week we also had a catch up on all the loose ends of the project and did a review on what is still left – scarily quite a lot! It was reassuring to chat through it and to make sure that we were all aware of our roles and responsibilities in the final year of the project.