The Museum is to remain closed
for another month, until end of July at least.
The news that the Covid emergency is 'easing' and restrictions are being lifted is very welcome. It also seems that museums generally are going to be allowed to open again, but with strict rules in place re social distancing, masks, cleaning regimes, etc, as for other establishments.
We have a real difficulty with all of that at the Sutton Museum. Those of you that know the place will realise that it's so small social-distancing would not be practical in any meaningful sense. It would not be possible in our narrow old school corridor, and the museum room itself by its very nature is crammed full of artefacts and displays that could not be continually wiped and cleaned. Examples are our 30 or so photo albums, school register albums, computer equipment and screens, as well as the toilets of course. Add to that the requirement for volunteers to wear masks, and probably gloves for cleaning, it becomes clearer that is also going to be too onerous for our more elderly volunteers.
It would be too risky to serve refreshments, a main source of weekly income. The tearoom itself is quite small and once again, social-distancing would be problematical. Our oldest volunteer is 92, and many of us are 70s-80s, though we do have some newer volunteers that are younger. Even so, I don't think any are less than 50.
So we have to consider the risks to ourselves as well as the public, and also that when open, volunteers would be on a continual round of cleaning and wiping down door handles and anything a visitor might touch. To open under those circumstances would neither be fun nor even totally safe for everyone. We go up there to entertain visitors to history, not engage on a continual round of worry and following visitors around and cleaning the place.
We have to assume visitors will naturally bring children, that is what we are there for. So we would have to observe the same rules as schools in many respects. We're only volunteers, not paid, and it is too much to ask of pensioners to keep all visitors under control. We cannot even control how many might visit, and a booking system as some have suggested is not going to be available.
Our only consolation is that none of this is any of our fault, we cannot do anything about it, and so just have to Keep Calm and make another cuppa.
Therefore, we have decided that the museum should remain closed for at least another month, and can only hope that by then, the situation around Hull is a lot easier; much easier in fact, to face masks and cleaning regimes not so necessary. But I suspect we are going to have quite a long wait for that.
All the best to Everyone, wherever in the world you are, from all of us at the Sutton & Wawne Museum.
It is very quiet in the Old School Museum
Even the mice have gone to sleep
Nothing moves, and all is still .. ..
No sounds, no laughter, not even a peep.
But hark, is that a creak .. ?
Of a squeaky floor or a wooden door ...
... a softly closing desk lid enhancing
the echos of children, long, long, past -
in gentle laughter and the joys of dancing.
For if we stand, and listen, so very quietly
We can hear in those very rafters
their joyful songs, and a glee that lasts
and will still be sensed by those
who come here in years long after ...
long after we all have long since passed.
© 2020 . . . Sutton & Wawne Museum
These images were taken by Eric Johnson for the Dominoes series
of teaching books. Our own collection of the series is incomplete, and so these have been supplied from scans done by Amanda Denwood who now lives in Cumbria. Amanda visited the museum last year, and noted which books were missing, and offered to scan the missing ones for us from her own collection.
For folks longing for a semblance of the past,
even the distant past in that far off childhood country
called Nostalgialand, we have a few copies of a new
book to offer, by former Sutton resident and long-time
friend of our museum, Andrew Suddaby.
More general to Britain, but with nods to some
Hull memories that are not specific to Sutton,
this short book in a nice sized font for easy reading
is a general tour of what we did, watched,
and listened to in the UK years ago.
Priced at £7.00 including UK postage only
it will be on offer inside the museum for £5 when we re-open.
Sorry, overseas postage cannot be offered right now,
and in anycase, the cost would probably exceed the book.
BEWARE SCAMMERS ... THIEVES ... VAGABONDS !
Seriously, I kid you not. Thieves are already hard at work trying to defraud and cheat older folk, and all others having to self-isolate, out of considerable amounts of money. And they are succeeding!
Gangs have been working in some areas, posing as Red Cross or other charity workers, knocking on doors and offering to do the shopping. You may guess, you will get no shopping. Trust no one you do not know, or anyone you cannot quickly trace to a local address or business.
Likewise, with this new contact tracing situation, a 'service' that is ripe for exploitation and vast amounts of thievery if ever there was one. We have to have it, no question about that, but don't fall for phone call tricks telling you that you need to isolate, but first 'need to ring a number' for further details. There's plenty of advice online as to which numbers are genuine, and if you do fall for a scam, ringing 'their number' will cost you a pretty penny, make no mistake. The genuine number is 0300 013 5000.
Similarly with phone scams. If you don't know the number, then don't pick up. If you don't have Caller ID, listen carefully and do not give away any personal details whatsoever. Not banking, not even your address. If you are already ex-directory, these scammers do not know where you live, unless you tell them. All they have is a number to ring and try their luck. Even if you are in the book, they will still not be sure they have the right number, as a lot of them are using old and out-of-date lists.
IF YOU DO NEED HELP, with shopping or anything else; my best advice and your first ports of call should be:
lots of options for help.