May 24 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Visitor numbers to Norfolk’s museums have dropped by more than 24,000 during this year’s spring and summer period, compared to 2010, new figures have revealed.
And 10,000 fewer people visited the Norfolk museums service’s 10 attractions between April and August this year compared to 2011, despite Norwich Castle pulling in more than 5,000 extra people.
Officials say they are pleased with the current figures due to competition also coming from big summer events including the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Tour of Britain. They added there is still time for the numbers to improve before the end of 2012/13 next March.
In total, there were 178,554 visits between April and August this year, compared to 188,979 in 2011 and 202,865 in 2010.
The 2012 drop has largely been blamed on bad weather at the outdoor Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.
The museum, which explores Norfolk history, had 46,545 visitors in the first five months of 2011/12 and just 39,562 in the same period this year.
Vanessa Trevelyan, head of Norfolk’s museums service, said: “It’s been a funny old year. There’s been reports of museums in London having a 40pc reduction during the Olympics. We’ve not been affected in that way.”
On Gressenhall, Mrs Trevelyan said: “It seemed at every major event day, the heavens opened.”
Norwich Castle has been one of the big winners in 2012 so far. The 11th century attraction welcomed 85,731 people between April and August this year compared to 80,880 last year.
April led the way as the busiest month with 21,054 visitors – almost 8,000 more than 2011 and 5,500 more than 2010. Despite this boost, castle visitor numbers were lower in May, July and August compared to 2011.
The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum displays in the Shirehall closed last October, which attracted 1,509 people through the main door and 7,744 via Norwich Castle during 2011.
An exhibition to replace it has been set up in Norwich Castle. This could partly explain the increase in numbers at the castle with visitors.
The recently revamped Bridewell Museum saw visitor figures increase from 2,745 in July, its first full month since reopening, to 3,015 in August.
Numbers are down at Time and Tide, in Great Yarmouth, but up at the town’s Tolhouse Museum and Elizabethan Museum.
Mrs Trevelyan added: “We are about 10,000 down. We may be able to make that up before the end of the year. We are only a third of the way through, which I think is pretty good because of the weather, Olympics, jubilee, Tour of Britain and other good events.”