Hidden Norfolk Heritage Gems
Norfolk has a very rich history that is just waiting to be discovered and that’s why Heritage Open Days festival is an amazing opportunity for exploring corners of the county that hide fascinating stories from the past. Hidden alleys and rooms, small museums staffed by volunteers, projects that promote exploration and preservation of history – these are places that can offer amazing new experiences and knowledge but often don’t get as much attention as they deserve. So, we decided to ask our staff to tell us what local hidden heritage sites they would recommend people visit (not only) during Heritage Open Days:
Jane – South Norfolk Health Volunteer Coordinator
As I coordinate the office in Thetford, I must recommend the Dad’s Army Museum here in Pike Lane, Thetford. The museum’s collection of props, photos and items will give you everything you ever wanted to know about the popular TV show and even more. I have signposted a few volunteers there and the feedback from the visitors to the museum is always favourable. The venue itself isn’t very big but well worth an hour of anyone’s time.
Michelle – Volunteering Advisor
I’m particularly passionate about heritage and really love exploring places that are hidden or not usually accessible, which is why my recommendation for Heritage Open Days would have been the Hidden History Tours at The Missing Kind charity headquarters on Castle Meadow. I say would have been only because the tours themselves over the Heritage Open Days weekends are actually sold out already, however they do run the tours throughout the year, so you can still go and explore this ‘Hidden History’ another time.
My second recommendation would be to take Heritage Open Day as an opportunity to visit a smaller independent museum… there are quite a few around the county. I used to work at The Charles Burrell Museum in Thetford, which is run entirely by a team of dedicated volunteers and until I started to volunteer there myself, I never knew about it! It has a great little collection of steam engines and other machinery and really is somewhere you won’t believe is tucked away in Thetford until you visit it.
Capreece – Youth Forum Lead, King’s Lynn
My favourite place would be the underground bunker underneath the Tuesday Market Place in King’s Lynn. I went on a guided tour around the bunker and found it really informative and interactive. The Town Hall is also a great place on Heritage Day with lots of interactive things for children and adults to get involved in!
Richard – Social Media and Digital Marketing Assistant
A few months ago I had the pleasure to be part of a small team of students doing a bit of research work for Change Minds – an amazing project that helps people with mental health issues through archival research and artistic self-expression. If you are interested in finding out more about what life with mental health issues might have been like in the 19th century, definitely go to their workshop on Sunday 16 September in King’s Lynn or other events throughout the year.
- Museums are a great place for volunteering, with opportunities for people of all interests. If you’re looking for some inspiration, read our blog post on Volunteering in Museums.
- Find all Heritage Open Days events in Norfolk