VISITOR numbers at Newton Abbot Museum continue to grow as the facility enters a second full year at its new location.
In the first quarter of 2023 more than 3,600 people came through the doors at Newton’s Place, Wolborough Street, up approximately 20 per cent on last year.
The museum’s old site in Devon Square could expect a total of approximately 2,500 visitors in an entire year.
The figures have cheered staff who spent six years and a seven-figure sum on the move.
‘When Newton Abbot Town Council, our main funders, decided to buy the former St Leonard’s Church it was a bold move and potentially not without risks,’ said Curator Dr Charlotte Dixon.
‘The total cost of buying, converting, restoring and conserving the Grade Two listed building, carried out during a global pandemic don’t forget, was some £2.5 million.
‘For that the town has now got a fantastic new museum, community rooms and accessible council offices.
‘And thanks to careful financial management, and support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund who provided almost half the cost, not a single penny was added to council tax bills to achieve this great result.
‘Now our visitor figures confirm that people really enjoy coming here, viewing superb displays such as the Ipplepen Roman coin collection, on loan from Torquay Museum until March next year, which we know is attracting visitors in its own right.
‘We’re also staging plenty of outreach work plus activities for schools and families, and ensuring we have the necessary skills and facilities to make visits enjoyable for everyone, no matter what their needs.’
With Dr Dixon about to commence maternity, colleagues have welcomed India Jolly who will assume the curator’s role for a year.
‘I’m very excited, there are lots of incredibly interesting projects I’m looking forward to taking on and hopefully I’ll come up with some new ones as well,’ said India who previously managed Liskeard and District Museum.
‘The outreach programme is brilliant and it’s just great to get the community involved with its museum.
‘It’s going to be a wonderful year and I look forward to meeting everyone.’