Talking portraits, eerie silhouettes and stunning displays have replaced the previous drab interior in the magnificent transformation of Lynn Town Hall.
After being closed for nearly a year to complete the multi- million restoration, the hall and gaol house are set to re-open to visitors once more.
Local, national and international visitors are expected to tour around the fantastic new Stories of Lynn exhibition.
Dark and drab rooms have been replaced with light and bright decoration while the town’s precious archives will be preserved for the future.
Now curators and West Norfolk Council staff are hoping that the new look will be a big hit with visitors when it opens on Friday.
This will be an important moment for council leader Nick Daubney, who has been eager to improve access to the hall.
He said: “I really want to see this place buzzing with people enjoying it. It is their’s and is going to be so much more open and accessible for people. We have now got a world class facility here.”
Building work started in April last year convert the former Gaol House, Regalia Room and Archive section.
The undercroft has been beautifully transformed to chart 800 years of Lynn’s history using a variety of displays along with the fun Hanseatic game and talking portraits of some Lynn’s most famous residents, including Fanny Burney and Margery Kempe.
An unused office space has been transformed into the treasury to house a “sea of spoons” along with allowing visitors a closer look at the King John Cup.
The former Gaol House and its cells have been used to explore the lives and deaths of some infamous residents while silhouettes highlighting a prisoner’s journey upstairs to the court room.
Project curator Dayna Woolbright said: “We have chosen specific things to explore this building and the town hall. I feel like a proud mother hen. Even I am blown away by how good it looks.”
Lynn’s archives will soon be housed in an environmentally controlled storage room, which is flood and fire proof.
The town also has its own archivist, Stacey Kennedy, who will helping academics and local residents view the archives in a study area. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday, 12.30pm to 4.30pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.
Miss Kennedy said: “The whole point is to widen the audience. We really want to encourage local people to engage with history.”
Learning and engagement officer Ruth Farnan will be holding a host of events for people of all ages at the hall.
These workshops including enamelling, understanding historical writing historical food and cookery.
Miss Farnan, who will also be running a schools programme, said: “This is an incredibly exciting project. We have had various activities over the last year but now the exhibition is finally open there is so much more we can do.”
A £1,850,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has helped to transform the hall, including the new extension housing a lift and stairs along with creating a garden in the former car park.
Stories of Lynn is open seven days a week. Visitors will have access to the Stone Hall on Tuesdays and Sundays. Tickets cost £5 with £3.50 concessions. A joint ticket for Stories of Lynn, Lynn Museum and the Custom House’s maritime exhibition will be offered on Sundays. These cost £7 with concessions of £4.50 and a family ticket is £16.50.