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Waveney museums trail seeks to encourage families to visit more museums

A new Waveney museums trail is being launched next week, with an official opening planned for Saturday and Sunday.

The trail will include 16 museums from Diss to Oulton Broad, along with a painting exhibition by Dickleburgh Primary School and numerous new displays at the Waveney Heritage Centre in Brockdish, which will be opening a new section of its museum.

Trail organiser Sue Dodd said: “I very much want families and children to be engaged with the experience of visiting museums.

Waveney Heritage Centre has produced a museum trail, with a children's art exhibition.
Waveney Heritage Centre has produced a museum trail, with a children's art exhibition.

“The idea of having to collect stamps on a card not only makes the children search through the whole museum, looking at everything carefully, but, when they find an item, they have to go to a volunteer and ask about it.

“The badges run from bronze to gold, depending on whether four, eight or 12 stamps are collected.

“I have set it all up and paid for it privately, and had 5,000 maps produced, which have been distributed to museums, schools, pubs and hotels.

“I wanted to make sure they were visible in places outside of museums to help get new visitors in through the door.”

The trail is aimed at encouraging more children to visit their local museums on a regular basis, and is open-ended, with no time restriction on when the cards need to be filled with stamps by.

Maps will be available around the Waveney Valley area from April 10.

“Children from Dickleburgh Church of England Primary Academy have done 25 paintings of Waveney Valley, which have been framed and will be on display at the heritage centre,” added Ms Dodd.

“Every year, I’m hoping we can get a new display of paintings from a different school to help keep the local schools engaged with museums.

“Museums are greatly under-used as a learning resource, and it’s not just about the visiting, but also the interacting with things they see, that is important.

“In the new area within the heritage centre, they have a 1930s room and toys and books from the 1950s and lots of exhibits that really bring history to life for visitors.

“Schools are very keen to be involved and they are always looking for ways to help the children learn and visit museums more often.”

Local museums are facing challenges with volunteering that prevent some from being open for longer hours.

Ms Dodd hopes that greater visitor numbers and greater volunteer numbers might be on the horizon, and that initiatives such as hers can help change that.

“It would be great to see this rolled out in regions across the country,” she said.

“As a child, I spent so much time in museums and that’s a huge gap that a lot of children now have in their experiences.

“I feel passionately about getting the children to put down their iPads and other devices and explore museums, because they have so much to offer.”

Next weekend’s event at the heritage centre runs from 10.30am to 3.30pm, and will include a barbecue, tea and coffee.

To find out more about regular opening hours, email waveneyheritagecio@gmail.com

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