Record numbers flock to open air museum

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A MUSEUM is celebrating a record year with more people than ever visiting.

During the past 12 months, 589,474 visitors have passed through the gates of Beamish Open Air Museum.

The figures show a 19 per cent boost compared to the previous year.

The museum has been open for 43 years and the next best result was back in 1991, the year of the Gateshead Garden Festival, when Beamish welcomed 520,000 visitors.

More than £4million has been invested to create a range of new attractions, including a 1940’s farm opening this February half-term.

Beamish also created more than 100 new jobs in the same period, from engineers to traditional fish and chip shop keepers.

Richard Evans, director at Beamish, said: “This upturn in numbers, revenue and employment is great news, not just for the people who love and work for Beamish – it is a real boost for our region’s economy.

“More than half of our visitors come from outside the North East on holiday.

“They visit other attractions across the region and stay overnight in our hotels, guest houses and camp sites.”

Visitor numbers have almost doubled over the last five years, since the museum introduced an “Unlimited” ticket, with 12-months unlimited admission for the same price as a day ticket.

Last spring, the Hetton Silver Band Hall was rebuilt, brick by brick, after being moved to the museum from Hetton.

The official reopening was attended by hundreds of visitors.