This page is going to be the home of what I increasingly expect will turn out to be the museums 2020 exhibition season. Below you will find an extract from the letter that accompanied the museums first newsletter of the season. It seemed sensible to try and lay out what we expect to happen this year. As promised in my letter I have been looking at ways in which we can develop our museum web site to provide more information about the history of the town and the surrounding area. My starting point has been the chronological list of events affecting Beccles and its inhabitants that is displayed in the River Post room. I’m sure you will all remember seeing and reading it at some time. I have added a few items and removed one or two but it is largely the same list. If you follow the link to the Short History of Beccles it will take you to a copy of the list and then by selecting an item it will take you to an article about the event. This is very much a work in progress and I expect to add to the articles on a weekly basis, so do come back again. If you would like to help by suggesting additional events, providing articles, or correcting something that I’ve got wrong, then please do get in touch, many hands make light work.
Alan Wheeler 31st March 2020.
Extract from the letter that accompanied Newsletter 10 at the beginning of March 2020.
To the Supporters of Beccles and District Museum
When I first sat down to write this letter my focus was going to be on the coming season but, as I’m sure you are all aware, there is a situation arising that is out of our control and will have a marked impact on our year. Currently the Covid 19 situation is still developing but it is becoming increasing clear that it is likely that we will be affected. Government advice is changing on a weekly basis and they have just moved to the second stage of their plan. In light of this situation, and that our volunteer base is one who are particularly at risk from this virus, we have taken the decision to delay the opening of the museum. At this stage it isn’t possible to predict when we will open but hopefully at some point it will be possible.
We had planned a varied and interesting programme of temporary exhibitions for this year. These exhibitions take a long time to research, prepare and then display, so rather than try and show them all but in a shorter time frame, it seems sensible to hold some of them over to the next season. The work for the opening exhibition to mark the 75th Anniversary of the World War 2 VE day has largely been done and so as and when we do open this will be our first exhibition. We had then planned on displaying the museums collection of Needlepoint, followed by the recently donated works by Harry Becker. The final exhibition was to be on the Feoffees and the Townlands Trust and was to be supported by their historic archive of documents which are normally stored in the Lowestoft branch of the Suffolk Records Office. The museum took delivery of these records back in February and started work on researching them with the agreement that we will return the items to the SRO in November. It therefore seems sensible that the second exhibition the year, should we have one, focus on the Feoffees. I feel it is likely that the other two exhibitions, the Needlepoint and the Harry Becker ones will have to wait until 2021. But we will see what happens and act to recover as much of our 2020 season as we can.
I feel the museum is very much a community of friends and we certainly rely on you all to support us so that we can research, display and store items on the town and the surrounding area. So with this enforced closure I wondered what we could do to maintain the links with you all. Over the coming week or so we will look at how we can put information and items on to our website that may entertain you and explain more about the museum and explore items about the local history. This is very much a work in progress but we will try and get something in place by the beginning of April. The website will also be a good place to see announcements about when we expect to re-open.