Museum needs extra funding

Abbots Hall, Museum of East Anglian Life
Abbots Hall, Museum of East Anglian Life
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The Director of the Museum of East Anglian Life has approached Stowmarket Town Council for funding to help with the upkeep of the recently refurbished Abbot’s Hall.

Director Tony Butler said the museum needed an extra £5,000 a year to maintain the iconic 18th century house.

Mr Butler said he hoped he could reignite a relationship with the Town Council to secure the funding.

“For some time the museum had had a relationship with the council, until about 2009,” he said.

“We would now like to build a new relationship with them.

“The Abbot’s Hall project is a big deal for the museum - it has created a new attraction for the museum but also for the town.

“Abbot’s Hall is free and open all year round. In fact one of the premises of the project was to build a link from the town centre and the Hall.

“Like every other organisation, we are looking for funding.

“The museum’s overall turnover this year is about £700,000 and the proportion coming from public money is about 20 percent.

“Of that 20 percent, we get around £140,000 from the district and county councils.

“But overwhelmingly our income comes from admission to the museum and from grants from other organisations.”

Abbot’s Hall reopened in April after a £3million refurbishment. The hall, built in 1709, houses seven permanent exhibition rooms and two tempory exhibition rooms.

Stowmarket’s Mayor, Anne Whybrow, said although the council would like to help the museum, funding has to be shared with other organisations in the town

She said: “We are looking looking at a way to help them.

“But we are a small town council and we don’t have a massive great pot of of money so we cannot always be as generous as we would like to. Our funding has to be shared across the town.”