Norfolk Museums and Archaeological services recently received funding from the Esmee Fairbairn foundation, one of the UK’s largest independent grant-making foundations, to revamp our superstore. The superstore is a highly secure building where larger items in the Norfolk Museum’s reserve collections are held; think Asda but full of museum collections. The aim of the project is to reorganise the space and create access to the stored collection which will benefit both members of the public and museum staff.
We are currently working with a number of curators across the county to compile a list of objects that are our ‘stars of the stores’. Once the project is complete they will have pride of place in the museum store. These objects have been selected for a number of reasons including their popular appeal, historical significance and for the interesting stories they tell. As a sneaky preview we hope to include local favourites Samson and Hercules, the original iconic figures that once flanked the doors of the old Samson and Hercules Ballroom on Tombland in Norwich (the younger among you might have known it as Ritzy or Ikon). The original statues were replaced by replicas in 1993 after Samson lost an arm, poor thing! But the originals date from as early as 1657. The sculptures are finely carved from oak and fully or partially gilded. Over the years they have been subjected to numerous coats of paint and the odd bit of graffiti so they need a bit of TLC from our fantastic conservation team. Samson & Hercules are one of our favourites, so you will definitely be hearing more about them very soon! We will also be asking you to share your memories of Samson and Hercules so keep checking our facebook page ‘Shine a Light Project’ if you would like to contribute as we would love to hear your stories!