- 1920-2021 (Creation)
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The first annual report, 1921, records that the Friends organization began when, in 1920, an appeal was made to establish a fund for the purchase of objects of local interest, by Mr J.H. Walter of Drayton Hall. For the appeal letter, 1 December 1920, and copy of the first annual report, see SO 276/9/1/1. During its first year the fund purchased two artefacts, the Prior of Walsingham's door and an Absolon jug. At first the group was known as the Friends of the Norwich Castle Museum Fund, until it became the Friends of the Norwich Museums. This name appears to be used for the first time in the annual report for 1938 (SO 276/5/1).
According to its constitution, the object of the organization is the education of the public by promotion, support, assistance and improvement of the Norwich museums through the activity of a Friends group. Its AGM is usually held in April each year, with council meetings not less than twice in every year. For copies of, and amendments to, the Friends' constitution, see SO 276/9/11/1 and SO 276/9/2/3.
The Friends of Norwich Museums have purchased many objects through their fundraising activities which aim to enrich and expand the museums' collections. Their activities have also helped to secure major funding from national and regional organizations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and the Museums Libraries and Archives/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, East Anglia Art Foundation and Arts Council East of England.
In addition to fundraising for the purchase of new objects, the Friends are involved in many aspects of the museums' work. They have created a garden at Strangers' Hall, provided facilities for disabled people at Norwich museums and funded educational, conservation and display equipment.
Activities and benefits for Friends include free admission to many museums in Norwich, previews of major exhibitions, a programme of talks and visits, a Friends' newsletter and opportunities for voluntary work in the museums.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 19 January 2006 (ACC 2005/308) and 22 September 2017 (ACC 2017/84). Catalogue compiled February-August 2010 (HV) and September 2017 (AB)..
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Includes Friends' council minutes, 1975-1999 (SO 276/1) 2010-2015 (SO 276/1/3); Activity committee minutes, 1974-1989 (SO 276/3); Annual General Meeting (AGM) agendas and reports, 1926-1972 (SO 276/4); AGM minutes 2011-2016 (SO 276/12/1) annual reports, 1921-1961 (SO 276/5); accounts, 1921-1988 (SO 276/6); newsletters, 1984-1999 (SO 276/7); newspaper cuttings, 1971-1996 (SO 276/8), correspondence and papers 1920-2000 (SO 276/9), and museum applications (SO 276/13/1). Contains the papers of the Friends' former secretary and chairman, David Mawson, 1967-1987 (SO 276/10) and former secretary, Donald Hunt, 1978-1980 (SO 276/11). There is also correspondence relating to the founding of the British Association for Friends of Museums and and the World Federation of Friends of Museums (SO 276/9/6 and SO 276/10/2/1).
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