VISITORS to Newton Abbot Museum will be offered the chance to make return trips through an innovative ‘Pastport’ initiative. 

Thought to be the first of its kind in the country, staff at the museum have created their own version of the more commonplace passport required for overseas travel.

Ahead of the museum reopening for its 2024 season, the Pastport scheme will see people have each visit marked with an official sticker and once 10 trips have been made, a history-themed prize can be claimed.

Visitors are also being encouraged to draw their own passport-style ‘photos’ together with images of their favourite exhibit.

Curator India Jolly said: ’More people are visiting the museum than ever before with a good number coming several times a year.

‘We thought it would be good to offer them something extra, a bit of fun that also encourages looking closely at everything on display.

‘The prize for recording ten visits in a year will be items such as history-themed drawing kits, no throwaway toys that just end up as plastic waste.

‘I’m sure the Pastport will be popular with children but have equally no doubt it will also appeal to people of all ages.

‘There’s no reason visiting a museum shouldn’t be fun as well as informative and, of course, entry is completely free as are the Pastports and prizes.’

The Pastport scheme is being launched on Monday February 12 to coincide with the first half term of the year.

New exhibits for 2024 include two local wedding dresses, one from 1954 and the other from 1970.

Recently donated cartoons drawn by the 20th century leather and wool magnate Charles Vicary have also gone on display.

They depict scenes from Newton Abbot Hospital in the 1930s and had been presented to Miss Eleanor Higham at the close of her working life there.

The museum shop now stocks unique Newton Abbot mementos such as bookmarks, town trail guides, fridge magnets and stickers of official town mascot, Newton.

‘Pocket money gifts are always popular and we’re delighted to offer a little bit of Newton Abbot for people to take away or send to friends and families,’ said India.