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Museums' delight at quality award

PUBLISHED: 13:43 27 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 08 July 2010

MUSEUMS in Thetford and Swaffham are celebrating getting a quality benchmark award which means they have met the same standards as some of the biggest cultural centres in the country.

MUSEUMS in Thetford and Swaffham are celebrating getting a quality benchmark award which means they have met the same standards as some of the biggest cultural centres in the country.

And the granting of accreditation - already held by places such as the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery - will mean they stand a better chance of getting funding for improvements in the future.

Charles Burrell Museum at Thetford and Swaffham Museum join Bishop Bonners Museum at Dereham, Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, Diss Museum, Mundesley Maritime Museum, the Air Defence Radar Museum at RAF Neatishead, the Wymondham Bridewell Museum and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich in a group granted the status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

As well as the accreditation, Charles Burrell Museum also got a commendation for its forward planning to make it better for visitors.

All the museums with accreditation have had to prove to the judging panel they have reached high standards, and accreditation helps attract grant funding bids.

Sam Rowlands, the MLA's regional officer- museums and standards, said: “It is a fantastic award for them all.”

Jamie Everitt, Norfolk's museums development officer, said: “It is really excellent news and accreditation has been an enormous amount of work for the museums. Congratulations to all of them, especially Bishop Bonners who have struggled against many hurdles.”

Phillip Duigan, chairman of the Breckland Area Museums Committee, said: “I am absolutely over the moon and it is really good news.”

Charles Burrell Museum trustee David Blackburn said: “I am smiling from ear to ear at the news! This gives us a wonderful framework.”

He outlined the successful growth of the museum, which had 4592 visitors in 2007 compared with 1177 in 2005.

“We are beginning to have a bit of an impact in Thetford. We are the junior partner to other attractions but we are an honourable junior partner.”

Mr Blackburn said the museum - whose aim is to be “the leading gateway for information on Burrells” - was also trying to get publicity material translated into Portuguese to attract more people from the community.

The museum is hosting a traction engine rally on Easter Sunday which will see up to 40 vehicles travelling through the town

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