Ancient House Museum celebrates Black History Month

Saturday 1 Oct 2022 - Monday 31 Oct 2022

Ancient House Museum celebrates Black History Month

This October Ancient House in Thetford, Norfolk is joining organisations across the UK to celebrate Black History Month. The museum has events to suit all ages and has two exciting pop-up displays.

Events will start with another chance to see the Princess Catherine Duleep Singh exhibition which recently featured on an episode of Antiques Roadtrip. The team at Ancient House  worked with historian and collector Peter Bance to launch a new exhibition marking the life of Princess Catherine Duleep Singh, whose grandmother was an enslaved Abyssinian woman from Cairo.

Coming to Ancient House for the first time is a new exhibition about the fascinating history of the African American Abolitionist lecturers who toured Norfolk during the 19th century and played a key role in raising awareness of the horrors of slavery. The exhibition is supported with funding from the US Embassy and the British Association for American Studies Small Grants Programme and presents their stories through new research. The exhibition is curated by a team from Norfolk Museums working with Dr Hannah-Rose Murray from the University of Edinburgh.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “It’s important to celebrate all cultures and examine different parts of history. The exhibitions throughout Black History Month present us the opportunity to explore these parts of history, and I’m proud of the work that Norfolk Museums do in this area.”

Oliver Bone, curator of Ancient House, said “We are thrilled to be celebrating Black History Month here at Ancient House. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the museum’s Black History connections and discover little known stories. Woven into the very fabric of the museums history Integrated into not only the collection but the very building the museum stands in.”

Events held at Ancient House throughout Black History Month are:

  • Princess Catherine Duleep Singh Museum Trail and Pop-Up Display
    1-8 October | 10am to 4pm | Open Tuesday-Saturday
    Explore the museum to find the escaped items from Inkquisitive’s portrait of Princess Catherine to win a small prize, and find out about her life in the pop-up display
  • Black History Month Trail
    4-29 October | 10am to 4pm | Open Tuesday-Saturday
    Find out the extraordinary history of local Black people and win a small prize
  • Black Abolitionists in Norfolk Pop-Up Display
    15-29 October | 10am to 4pm  Open Tuesday-Saturday
    Learn about the fascinating history of the African American abolitionist lecturers who toured Norfolk during the 19th century. Find out how they played a key role in raising awareness of the horrors of slavery
  • Paint at the Museum for Black History Month
    22 October | 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm | Suitable for 12–25-year-olds
    This Kick the Dust Norfolk hands-on art sessions will focus on the museum’s exciting new portrait of Princess Catherine Duleep Singh by artist Amandeep Singh, and Cheryl Roach’s new depiction of Black Abolitionist Moses Roper
  • The Minns Family in Thetford Walking Tour
    26 October | 3pm to 4pm
    Find out about Britain’s first Black mayor, Dr Allan Minns. Discover the impact he had on Thetford and discover the stories of his children in this walking tour of Thetford which starts at Ancient House Museum
  • Moses Roper was my Inspiration: Art based conversations and activities
    29 October | 1am to 3pm
    Discover how the story of self-liberated Black abolitionist, Moses Roper inspired two local artists to create very different portraits of the inspirational speaker. Help to keep his story alive by creating a visual narrative using collaborative sketching, collaging, and scribbling

About Ancient House Museum

Ancient House is a fascinating museum of Thetford life, housed in an attractive, half-timbered, Tudor merchant’s house and tells the fascinating history of Thetford and the Brecks. The museum was founded in 1924 by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, second son of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of Punjab. Ancient House Museum is part of Norfolk Museums Service, a multi-award-winning service comprising ten museums and a study centre, and is a partnership of county, district, and city councils in Norfolk working together, through the Joint Museums Committee, to manage museums and heritage services across the county.

About the British Association for American Studies Small Grants Programme

A grant of £2,770 from the US Embassy/British Association for American Studies has supported this exhibition. The British Association for American Studies was founded in 1955. It exists to promote, support, and encourage the study of the United States in universities, colleges, and schools in the United Kingdoms.

About Kick the Dust Norfolk

Kick the Dust Norfolk is an exciting four-year project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is aimed at young people aged 11-25 years of age with specific focus on young people who face significant barriers to participation in heritage and arts activities. Norfolk Museums Service and the Kick the Dust programme aims to work with 8,000 young people in the four years, working with YMCA and Creative Collisions.

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund uses money raised by the National Lottery, and inspires, leads, and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. The NLHF has provided funding for Kick the Dust Norfolk, as well as the Princess Catherine Project. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £45 billion for projects and more than 660,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

About Cheryl Roach

Cheryl Roach is a Norfolk-based author, model, and expressionist painter. She has created an artistic response to Moses Roper’s story which will be on display at Ancient House.


Inkquisitive’s work includes celebrity portraits and religious works which have gained him fans worldwide. The artist, Amandeep Singh, has a passion for art and illustration which took him to study graphic design and illustration at university. The calligraphy skills of his father, who worked for the Indian High Commission, led him to appreciate artistry at a young age. The brand name came from his mother who said: ‘Your work is very inquisitive; it poses a lot of questions’. Social media has been an excellent platform for Amandeep as a place where he can share new work, connect with influential people, and build his profile.