Sheringham Museum continues to raise its profile as one of the town’s premier tourist attractions. The recent award of the ‘Hidden Gem’ Accolade by VisitEngland came as a fine surprise to the Museum’s team – manager Lisa Little and her band of enthusiastic volunteers. It is a much appreciated reward for thousands of hours of devoted work.
However, the Museum is not just for tourists. Volunteer researchers continue to comb the information from its collections to build and present stories of Sheringham over the last two centuries – from the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution.
Notable people, important events – Sheringham has a fascinating history, bringing together agriculture, the fishing industry, early tourism, wartime exploits as well as some archaeological surprises. The Museum provides a very valuable resource for the people of the town and district, helping them understand the town’s rich heritage.
Three of the town’s lifeboats (the Museum has the best local collection in the UK), several fishing boats and a selection of beach holiday / maritime artefacts grace the ground floor.
The first floor relates the social history of the town – the coming of the railway and the subsequent tourist boom, the shops and services, art and culture.
The second floor – a relatively new addition – houses a fourth lifeboat and provides a much-valued resource: an exhibition space that can double as an education room, a meeting place, a concert auditorium, etc.
This space is making it possible to integrate town events more closely with museum activities. This is important – the basic function of a museum collection is to record information about events and conditions that reflect the life of the town.
As well, it is making it possible for the Museum to engage more effectively with townspeople, with various special-interest groups using the space, a program of live music concerts (very popular!), school educational workshops and the like. The space has been hired for a range of one-off events, too – business meetings, teacher training days, drinks receptions, etc.
Of course, its prime use, from the Museum’s point of view, is the Summer Exhibition. Featuring an important person, event or aspect of Sheringham life, it is the biggest exhibition of the year. In 2015 (before the second floor became available) an exhibition of east-coast ganseys (fishermen’s sweaters) proved very popular, and the work that underpinned it won Sheringham Museum a reputation for excellence in textile research.
The 2016 exhibition – the first for the new space – dealt with home-based support for the troops in the Great War and further cemented the reputation of the Museum’s textile expertise as well as research capabilities. It opened the door for 2017’s block-buster travelling exhibition of ganseys from the Netherlands, the Museum’s most successful so far.
The 2018 Summer Exhibition changes track, focussing on the amazing life of Olive Edis – photographer, business person, adventurer, artist and of course, Sheringham resident.
There have been several exhibitions of her photography in recent years, but this exhibition will extend that view to show her as a person with a wide range of interests, influential in a number of fields.
Later exhibitions will explore the lives of significant Sheringham people and important aspects of life in the history of the town, building an understanding of the development of the town over the last two centuries.
The Museum is an independent charity, not part of the Norfolk County museums group. As such, it is operated by volunteer effort (in the main) and funded by entry fees, with occasional grants for special projects.
The Museum’s website below provides up-to-date information on opening times, a list of coming events and of course contact details for enquiries or comments, which are always welcome.
Sheringham Museum – proud of its place in the town!