Exploring the City of Norwich: ITP UK Partner Programme (Mohamed Mokhtar, ITP 2015, Egypt, Senior Fellow 2019)

Written by Mohamed Mokhtar, Curator, Abdeen Palace Museum (ITP 2015, Egypt, Senior Fellow 2019)

A nice and bright morning for a trip! This was my first impression of the day which myself and a group of fellows from Turkey, Sudan and Palestine were ready to go to Norwich. This historical city dates back more than 2,000 years and is situated 100 miles north-east of London. As a part of my role as a senior fellow, I went to Norwich for a couple of days to visit the ITP’s UK Partners at the Norfolk Museums Service. We started our day by going to Liverpool Street Station in London to take our train to Norwich. We took around two hours to reach Norwich where we were met by Sarah Gore, Teaching Museum Manager, Norfolk Museums Service, who gave a tour of the city. We were joined by Jo Warr, Head of Development. We saw the city market, the city council and the Forum which is a public building that houses a space for exhibitions, events, activities and a library. In addition, it is the home of BBC East, which broadcasts daily TV and radio news across the Eastern Region. In the evening we had a dinner together in a very nice restaurant.

Norwich City riverside walk

The next morning we went to the Norfolk Museums to start a training day with representatives from the museums. The subject of this training was Decolonisation in Museums and sessions varied between presentations, activities and talks. I found the subject very interesting and the discussions with different members of the staff enriched my knowledge about it. In the afternoon we did tours and workshops inside the museum related to the same topic.

Dinner in Norwich with Sarah Gore and Jo Warr

The second day we went to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and visited the Norfolk Collection Centre which is the storage facility for the whole Norfolk Museums Service. It was a great opportunity to participate in the annual deep cleaning of the collection, so we got the chance to work on cleaning some objects made from different materials like wood, leather and metal.

We talked with the collection staff about their challenges of care and preserving their big collection, and we did a tour inside the storage exploring the variety their collection.

Object cleaning at Norfolk Collection Centre

Then I left the fellows after lunch and wished them good luck for the rest of their time in Norwich and took my train going to Stansted Airport to fly to Belfast in Northern Ireland.