Stowmarket: Museum of East Anglian Life sees large increase in visitor numbers

THE boss of a museum has hailed its visitor numbers which have seen an increase of between 15-20% over previous years.

Last year 40,000 people visited the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

The museum’s director Tony Butler says it was boosted by the refurbished �3.5miilion Abbot’s Hall which was opened last April.

He said: “We have had a 15-20% increase on previous years, nudging 40,000 people, which is really good.

“It’s the most we have had for many years but we would have expected that because of Abbot’s Hall and next year we will have a new exhibition project that we did not have before.

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“We will have five exhibitions events and the museum is in pretty good shape at the moment, we’re doing really well.

“People are spending a bit less in the museum shop but that’s a constant with many sites around the country.

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“More and more people are going to museums all the time, visitor numbers are up with museums offering free admissions.

“Again this year we will have the Countryside at War event and we will expand and grow the Blues Festival.”

Last year the museum had a turnover of �2million compared to just �180,000 in 2005.

Mr Butler said he was expecting a turnover of around �700,000 this year.

The museum is receiving funding from a �100,000 arts council grant which was awarded last year to improve its website, marketing and work with young and vulnerable people.

He said the museum had already applied for grant funding for this year focusing on developing their work with volunteers and with youngsters.

The work includes a collaboration with Stowmarket’s �6million youth centre, The Mix, which is awaiting the Government’s planning decision on its site in Ipswich Street.

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