Museum marks a major milestone

AN Alnwick tourist attraction, which marks its 10th anniversary next week, is opening its doors for free to help commemorate the milestone.

On Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, the Bailiffgate Museum is inviting the public to a Community Open Weekend, giving them the chance to visit the venue for nothing.

And as part of the celebrations, a search is on for the four youngsters who helped the Duke of Northumberland open the attraction on April 26, 2002.

The quartet – Georgina Anderson, Chantelle Marsh, Claire Patterson and John Tate – have been urged to contact the museum (01665 605847) or Adrian Ions (01665 606033).

During the open weekend, there will be an opportunity to help shape the attraction’s future by commenting on the plans which are being developed as part of the second stage Heritage Lottery Fund bid for the Bailiffgate Museum – Heritage at the Heart of the Community project.

The initiative aims to present the rich heritage of Alnwick and district and the museum’s extensive collection in new and exciting ways and encourage more people from the local area to enjoy them and get involved.

It includes going out into communities to work with local people on projects about their own heritage.

Plans are also in the pipeline to use digital technologies to ensure the venue’s photographic collection is accessible and to help collect and preserve oral and digital records of people’s lives.

On top of this, there is a vision to create a small local history resource centre within the museum so that people can research family history and their heritage.

During the open weekend, visitors will be able to choose what they think are the star objects in the venue and share ideas and make suggestions.

There will also be the chance to view the permanent collection, as well as an exhibition about the museum’s history and an exhibit created by pupils of St Paul’s Middle School on their ideas for the future.

Tom Pattinson, chairman of the trustees, said: “The Bailiffgate Museum is delighted to be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, and we are determined to be here for future generations to enjoy, which means being relevant to the community, interesting and engaging.

“We hope as many people from the town and the whole of the district can come during our open weekend and give us their ideas and comments on the developing plans.”

The museum is open normal hours, 10am to 4pm, during the open weekend.

l A Northumbrian Music Evening takes place at the museum on Friday, April 27.

Well-known local singer Avril Huntly and her musical friends, including Malcolm Bennett, Adrian Ions, Ernie Coe and Bob Bolam, will be performing.

It starts at 7.30pm and there will be refreshments. Tickets are £7.50.

Call 01665 605847 or email for more information.