New museum could attract extra tourists

EXTRA tourists could be attracted to a Suffolk village if a £50,000 project to set up a new museum is successful.Orford Museum, near Woodbridge, has been without a home since September 1998 and the historical items have been kept in safekeeping while a range of options were considered for a permanent venue.

EXTRA tourists could be attracted to a Suffolk village if a £50,000 project to set up a new museum is successful.

Orford Museum, near Woodbridge, has been without a home since September 1998 and the historical items have been kept in safekeeping while a range of options were considered for a permanent venue.

In 2000 a referendum was held of all the residents of Orford and they were asked if they supported a proposal to put the museum inside Orford Castle. A total of 358 voted out of 655 people and 352 were in favour.

English Heritage is backing the plan to temporarily house the museum inside Orford Castle and it is anticipated that the added attractions could boost the visitors. There are about 45,000 visitors annually to the castle.

The aim is to have special exhibitions, talks for children involving ''touch and feel,'' lectures for adults, publications, a web site about the displays and to put on show finds by metal detector enthusiasts. There have been promises of loans of three collections and these would not normally be available to the public.

The project will provide four cases for the display of selected artefacts and graphic material from the museum's collections.

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The National Heritage Lottery Fund has been asked for £45,000. Suffolk Coastal District Council was asked for £5,000. Councillors deferred a decision until the outcome of the Lottery Fund application was known, and for a breakdown of costs. The parish council is giving £500.

An English Heritage spokesperson said: ''The Orford Museum Trust did not have a site to house their collection, therefore English Heritage have agreed to support the local community of Orford and temporarily house part of the collection in Orford Castle.

''The display will include parts of their collection that are relevant to the castle and the development of the community, and will be housed in Orford Castle until a permanent location can be found for the collection.'' The museum used to be housed in former stables behind the Crown and Castle hotel.

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