August 2016 - Norton Priory.

Away back at the end of 2014 start of 2015, Norton Priory museum closed to be redeveloped, and yesterday (Thursday 4th August) we were invited to a special preview evening before the Museum reopens to the public tomorrow, Saturday 6th August.

We've been able to visit the walled gardens for the past 18months, but it was nice to see the new museum.

The New Front Entrance

There were canapés and drinks laid on in the café, and the Director made a short speech, in which he discussed the hard work that has gone into the new museum, and how the original museum, even with all its imperfections was essential to the conservation of the site.

He was followed by a lady called Sarah, who thanked all of the volunteers who have helped including those stood outside directing the multitude of cars on the night!

The undercroft is now entirely indoors and is accessed from the museum atrium. The tiled floor has been repaired.

Upstairs is a new display, with fantastic views of the remains;

the exhibits include a number of interactive items that will keep little people occupied, including a 'reading corner', which LittleBit was instantly attracted to and stayed to read to one of the teddies!

The revamped gallery also has a number of interactive exhibits for kids, including building an archway with magnetic blocks, which was a winner for LittleBit.

Outside, the bell is still there, which obviously must be dinged, even if it makes LittleBit's ears hurt (I should clarify that it is LittleBit who insists upon this, and does the bell ringing).

We didn't have much time to explore the outside, and we didn't make it to the walled gardens this time, but we've been a few times, and we have family membership, so we can certainly go again soon.

Panorama looking towards the new museum

The new museum from the back
We obviously had to visit the new gift shop, from which LittleBit acquired a new tiny teddy of a Black Cannon, one of the Augustinian monks who would have lived in the priory when it was a priory, we also bought a jar of local honey (we've bought some from a fair there previously, and it's lovely).

The only disappointment on the night, is that the St Christopher statue, inspiration for Lucy M Boston's Children of Green Knowe books hadn't made it back into the museum, but we were assured he'll be back in place soon, hopefully, before the museum is opened to the public.

For more information, see the Norton Priory Website


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