Museum launches £750,000 lottery bid

By Benedict O'ConnorA MUSEUM is hoping to raise up to £750,000 to transform its premises and show off more of its precious historical artefacts.The Mildenhall Museum, home of the replica of the world-famous Mildenhall Treasure, has previously been turned down for a Lottery grant, but bosses are now confident a new bid may be successful.

By Benedict O'Connor

A MUSEUM is hoping to raise up to £750,000 to transform its premises and show off more of its precious historical artefacts.

The Mildenhall Museum, home of the replica of the world-famous Mildenhall Treasure, has previously been turned down for a Lottery grant, but bosses are now confident a new bid may be successful.

Perter Merrick, chairman of the Friends of Mildenhall Museum, said the premises that the museum has occupied since 1983 were no longer adequate to fulfil its needs and £750,000 was being sought for expansion and refurbishment.

"We are about to produce a new application for a lottery grant as the first one wasn't good enough. We have got to provide details of other organisations and partners in the community who would benefit, which wasn't specified when we made the application," he added.

"We are involved with local schools and the local family history society and lots of other organisations and although we feel this could have been cleared up over the phone we have been advised to itemise these connections.

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"We obviously feel it's very worthwhile doing it and while the exact amount we are applying for hasn't yet been decided, a figure of about £750,000 would be at the top end of the estimate."

Mr Merrick said the museum needed to prove it was more worthy of financial support than other organisations, and while he recognised there was tough competition he was confident the latest application would be well received.

He added the expansion of the current Kings Street site was necessary to provide a proper workshop for the conservation of artefacts, as well as a public meeting area to accommodate visitors such as schools.

Mr Merrick said he hoped the scheme would allow the museum to display more artefacts, including the skeleton of a 6th century Saxon warrior found buried with his horse at nearby RAF Lakenheath in 1997.

In pride of place at the museum is the replica of the Mildenhall Treasure, a Roman hoard discovered by a ploughmen and kept for some time on the mantelpiece of the landowner who did not realise what he had found.

The tale of the Mildenhall Treasure was immortalised in the book of the same name by Roald Dahl and the original hoard is kept at the British Museum.

benedict.o'connor@eadt.co.uk

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