Van factor helps museums’ visitor numbers skyrocket

Jones's Van in Thetford. Picture by Andrew Ruff
Jones's Van in Thetford. Picture by Andrew Ruff
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Two Thetford museums are feeling the ‘Jones’s Van Effect’ after their visitor numbers rocketed since the iconic prop was put in place in April.

Numbers at the Dad’s Army Museum have doubled year on year while the Charles Burrell Museum has seen four times as many visitors since they reopened at the end of March.

Corinne Fulford, manager at the Dad’s Army Museum, said coverage on Radio 2 and the draw of the van had made a huge impact.

“The van has had an amazing effect. Being on Radio 2 has really helped and we are still getting people coming here and saying they heard about us there,” she said.

The 1935 Ford Box van was bought for £63,100 at auction in Surrey in December and has been refurbished to bring it back to its best.

Funds for the van were donated by the Jenkins and Pearson families, who loaned the museum £63,100.

An appeal to pay back the money is on track, according to Ms Fulford.

“Fund-raising is going really well and we should get there.

“We still need help though so we don’t want people to think the job is done quite yet,” she said.

Jones’s Van merchandise has also been a hit, with miniatures of the prop selling well.

The van made its first outing in Thetford after the refurbishments on April 5 and has since been housed at the museum in Cage Lane.