The volunteers at Wymondham Heritage Museum are always keen to hear visitors’ views on their experience. A form is available in reception for them to say what they enjoyed the most, which displays they particularly liked. This feedback is invaluable to the committee in planning future exhibitions and improvements to the overall layout and ambience of The Bridewell.
In addition, we ask where visitors come from and how they found out about the museum. This helps us plan how best and where to promote the museum. Children leave us their comments too and it’s reassuring to know they report that there is lots to do and see. This is good news, especially as the half term holiday is coming at the end of the month and parents will be looking for something to occupy bored youngsters.
They won’t be disappointed. How do I know? Well, I was fortunate enough to pick up some feedback from one of the young visitors. She is five years old and was visiting with her grandparents. What was her overall impression of the museum?
“Awesome!” she replied with wide eyes. “The dungeon was the best. I saw the rat.”
And no, she wasn’t a bit scared. She also liked the cells, especially the one with the model of a prisoner sitting beside his bed.
But what about the Brushroom? A room full of brushes, tools, photographs and artefacts together with audio describing life in the factory. That must all have been a bit boring to one so young. Clearly not. When the commentary clicked in she was heard to exclaim: “Nanna, be quiet! The man is talking.”
And who was this Robert Kett and what did he do? She opened the doors on the wall display in the form of Kett’s Oak to reveal the story of this local yeoman and the 1549 rebellion he led.
On to the main gallery where she pounced on the sandbox. What would this young archaeologist find buried there?
“I found loads of things!” she exclaimed. “Lots of bones and some pottery.”
She was impressed by the giant pair of ditching boots on the agricultural display and mused on their size compared to her own little wellies.
Of course, she was too young to know many of the products in the two recreated shops, but it was the fruit basket in the Damgate Stores she was after. She was doing the children’s quiz and one of her questions was to count the bananas.
She completed the quiz, with a tiny bit of help from her grandparents, and proudly presented the completed form to the stewards in reception. She took her time selecting her prize from the range of goodies on offer before turning her attention to the shop.
Oh, decisions, decisions, what to have. A Biro, a keyring, a ruler perhaps or some crayons? Finally, she settled on a pen in the form of a quill.
There was just one place left to go, The Tearoom. Now this may well have contributed to the “Awesome” verdict. A homemade chocolate brownie was attacked with relish, washed down with a beaker of orange squash.
“Can I have a go on the wishing well?” she asked.
Granddad watched as some of his pension disappeared down the well. A handful of coins dropped at once made such a good splash. Of course, what our young visitor wished for must remain a secret, but I have a suspicion I know what a weary Nanna and Grandad were wishing for.
*The museum and The Bridewell Tearoom are open daily until Saturday October 28th. Information at thewhm.org.uk