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Home and away, Great Yarmouth’s global past

PUBLISHED: 08:33 16 April 2012

Jo O'Donoghue with a Transformation mask at Time and Tide's new exhibition You Are Here.

Jo O'Donoghue with a Transformation mask at Time and Tide's new exhibition You Are Here.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Great Yarmouth’s global links are showcased in a new exhibition which brings together centuries of the town’s history. STACIA BRIGGS visits Time and Tide Museum to take a trip through the past.

From a transformation mask used in tribal ceremonies to a delicately-jewelled trumpet made from a conch shell, the first carved depiction of a kangaroo to Captain Scott’s Antarctic skis, a new exhibition in Great Yarmouth will celebrate the town’s global links.

Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life is hosting You Are Here: The World in Great Yarmouth, which showcases the international influences that have helped form the town’s history.

The story of Yarmouth is told through the rich and diverse collections held at the museum and through the fascinating testimonies of recent settlers to the area.

“The exhibition is about the world connections that Great Yarmouth has had in the past and in the present; the way the town is linked to other places across the globe,” said curator Jo O’Donoghue.

“As a maritime town, Yarmouth has long been a destination for people who have come and gone with the boats and the seasons.

“Our collections are full of incredible objects from around the world which have been brought back to the town by sailors, travellers and the people who have come here to live.

“We’ve spoken to people who have come to Yarmouth to live, about their experiences and their thoughts and people will be able to listen to their audio interviews as they walk around the exhibition, whether they came for a new job, for family reasons or to escape from conflict.”

Jo explained that that audio history, collected by the museum service, would add an extra dimension to the exhibition and bring communities together.

“Many people from around the globe have chosen to settle in the town since the mid-twentieth century,” she said.

“Great Yarmouth is home to a well-established Italian community dating back to the late 1940s, the largest Greek Cypriot community outside London, a sizeable Chinese population and more recently-established Portuguese, Polish and Lithuanian communities.

“People have shared their stories about Yarmouth and their motivations for coming here and it’s quite fascinating to hear all the different reasons. It gives you a new perspective about the town.”

Among the collections on display in the temporary exhibition room will be objects that tell the stories of adventures and expeditions made by pioneering explorers, travellers and missionaries.

The objects they brought back, along with their journals and photographs, offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into the exotic worlds they encountered on their journeys.

“It’s an incredibly eclectic collection – from a bottle filled with bird droppings that form a design to a walrus and an albatross: I think there’ll be something in there to interest everyone,” said Jo.

“We were keen to show how important Yarmouth has been and is in the wider world and how it is connected to a whole range of places, through sailors, through holidaymakers and through the people who have chosen to make the town their home.”

■ You Are Here runs at Time and Tide Museum, Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth, until November 11, Mon-Sun 9.30am-4.30pm, £4.90 (£4.20 cons), £3.60 children, 01493 743930, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

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