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Norfolk Day Shop 2018

Funding boost for Norwich campaign to bring popular Samson sculpture back into public view

PUBLISHED: 14:10 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:10 08 March 2018

The Samson and Hercules ballroom.
 in Norwich. Photo: Archant Library

The Samson and Hercules ballroom. in Norwich. Photo: Archant Library

Archant

A crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000 to bring a historic Norwich statue back into public view is nearing its halfway mark.

The Samson and Hercules figures have been a familiar sight in Norwich's Tombland for more than 300 years. The original Samson figure has now been restored and now the Museum of Norwich is launching a 'Saving Samson' campaign to raise £15,000 enable the figure to be displayed in the museum.
Pictured is a close-up of the restored Samson’s face.
Photo: © Norfolk Museums Service The Samson and Hercules figures have been a familiar sight in Norwich's Tombland for more than 300 years. The original Samson figure has now been restored and now the Museum of Norwich is launching a 'Saving Samson' campaign to raise £15,000 enable the figure to be displayed in the museum. Pictured is a close-up of the restored Samson’s face. Photo: © Norfolk Museums Service

The Saving Samson campaign was launched by Museum of Norwich to raise funds for a special case to display the 17th century Samson statue which, alongside fellow statue Hercules, was one of Tombland’s most famous residents and remembered by generations as a “doorman” for Samson and Hercules dance hall, Ritzy’s and Ikon nightclubs.

Replicas now stand in Samson and Hercules’ places on the city street but Museum of Norwich wants to provide a home for the original Samson which was recently restored.

The campaign has now received a major boost thanks to a £2,500 donation from Friends of the Norwich Museums, and in total the campaign has received support from more than 125 donors and raised about £6,450. It has until March 22 to raise the remaining funds via Art Fund’s online crowdfunding platform Art Happens.

Francesca Makins, Friends of the Norwich Museums chairman, said FNM wanted to support the project because Samson was an iconic city landmark and “quite simply unique.”

The Samson and Hercules figures have been a familiar sight in Norwich's Tombland for more than 300 years. The original Samson figure has now been restored and now the Museum of Norwich is launching a 'Saving Samson' campaign to raise £15,000 enable the figure to be displayed in the museum.
Pictured is Samson in Plowden & Smith’s conservation studio in London. 
Photo: © Norfolk Museums Service The Samson and Hercules figures have been a familiar sight in Norwich's Tombland for more than 300 years. The original Samson figure has now been restored and now the Museum of Norwich is launching a 'Saving Samson' campaign to raise £15,000 enable the figure to be displayed in the museum. Pictured is Samson in Plowden & Smith’s conservation studio in London. Photo: © Norfolk Museums Service

The £15,000 is needed for an environmentally controlled case and conservation ground mount for the statue which was originally installed outside the Tombland home of Norwich mayor Christopher Jay in 1657.

Meanwhile in the near future Samson is due to feature in the second phase of an augmented reality app developed for the BBC’s arts and culture series Civilisations. It is the only Norfolk artefact picked for the app and has been digitally scanned so it can feature in a virtual exhibition.

Jenny Caynes, Museum of Norwich curator, said: “We are so excited Samson has been chosen as a featured object on the BBC’s Civilisations app. He’s such an important figure in many people’s memories of Norwich – it’s lovely that fans of Samson will be able to explore him in a new way and really appreciate the extraordinary workmanship that went into making him. Of course, nothing compares to seeing him in the flesh, which is why we’re working hard to ensure he can go on permanent display at the Museum of Norwich – we hope the extra impetus given by the BBC app and the Friends’ generous donation will give the campaign the extra momentum we need to ensure everyone can enjoy him in the future.”

To donate funds, visit www.artfund.org/saving-samson

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