Museum beats the recession blues

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AN Alnwick tourist attraction has battled back against the recession, with 1,700 more visitors coming through its doors in 2010, compared to the previous year.

Just over 10,000 people flocked to the Bailiffgate Museum last year, signalling a 20 per cent rise from 2009 and making it the busiest year since 2006.

Project manager James Etherington said: “This is a fantastic result for the museum. Many of the other attractions across Northumberland, as well as the country as a whole, suffered declines in visitor numbers, so to have such a successful year is a real tribute to the volunteers, trustees and friends of the museum who work so hard to put on exciting exhibitions and innovative events.”

The leap in visitors has been largely attributed to the high attendance during last summer’s Norman Cornish Exhibition, as well as the introduction to digital photography courses held at the museum throughout the year. It also held a number of unique and varied events.

The museum was also named as one of the 25 best days out in the country for youngsters to visit, as listed in the summer 2010 edition of the Early Years magazine, published by the Department for Education.

It ranked the museum alongside the likes of the Eden Project, the Tate Liverpool and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Tom Pattinson, chairman of trustees, said: “Thanks have to go to Northumberland County Council, Alnwick Town Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the North East Regional Museums Hub for their continued financial backing.

“We also would like to thank the Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Garden for their tireless efforts to promote the museum and for working with us to offer triple tickets to the museum, Garden and castle.

“We look forward to working with them all in the new year.”

Museum bosses are hoping to have another fruitful year, with new exhibitions, events and projects in the pipeline for 2011. But with Government budget cuts starting to bite, the attraction needs support from the local community and is appealing for volunteers.

James added: “If you are looking to try your hand at some voluntary work, the museum would really appreciate your time and commitment to help us build on this year’s success to make 2011 the best ever.”

For more information, email James at ask@bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk or call the museum on 01665 605847.