A history of Cromer Museum

In the middle half of the twentieth century, Cromer Town Council wanted to open a museum. Several sites were considered and ultimately eight former fisherman’s cottages, known as East Cottages, were purchased in 1967 for £1000.

One of the conditions of the purchase was that the remaining residents should not be disturbed and could stay for as long as they wanted, so it took over ten years for the museum to actually admit its first visitor. The collections were started from scratch and built up with the aid of an appeal to the public.

On 15 June 1978, Lady Preston of Cromer Hall declared the museum open and handed over its care to Norfolk Museums Service. Since then the museum has gone from strength to strength.

In 1981 the collection was enhanced when the museum acquired an important local history collection created by the late Cyril Crawford Holden. This has been of immense value for display, answering enquiries and for the public and scholars too.

In 2003 the museum was awarded funding for a re-development project. Improvements to the museum included a new education room, entrance and shop, displays and improved access facilities, including a lift, two new toilets and flat access to all areas. The work took a couple of years to complete and the museum re-opened its doors to the public again in Spring 2006.

In March 2017, two galleries were dedicated to the work of Olive Edis, one of the most important photographers of the early 20th century.

Cromer Museum is a fitting location for Edis’ work, given her long association with this part of Norfolk. Edis died in 1955, leaving the contents of her studio to her assistant Cyril Nunn who cared for the collection until it was acquired by Cromer Museum in 2008.

The Olive Edis galleries at Cromer are the culmination of the Olive Edis Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cromer Museum houses the largest collection of her work in the world.