The New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst is celebrating 30 years of sharing the New Forest’s history this year with a free family fun day on Sunday 24 June.
The Centre was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in the summer of 1988 as the New Forest Museum after a decade of fundraising by the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust, an independent charity which still owns and runs the building today.
An award from the Heritage Lottery Fund led to a major refurbishment in 2003, making the Centre a cultural hub catering to both local residents and visitors, and in 2016 admission charges to the museum were scrapped, making it free for everyone!
As well as a museum dedicated to the history and traditions of the New Forest, the Centre contains a gallery, gift shop, the Christopher Tower Reference Library and Tip, Leaf and Bean Café. Events and exhibitions run throughout the year and the Centre has a busy education team running school and group visits and holiday activities.
Centre Manager Hilary Marshall is thrilled to have reached this milestone. “I am proud that for 30 years the New Forest Centre has shared with the community and its visitors the wonderful history of the New Forest. Many of our unique collections have been donated by generous residents of the Forest and it is a privilege and an honour to preserve these for future generations. Now we look forward to the future of our free museum and library, and working with the local community to provide educational and fun services for all.”
“I hope to welcome many familiar and new faces to our birthday celebrations on 24 June,” she added.
The Family Fun Day runs from 2pm to 4pm and is kindly sponsored by Ringwood Brewery, which will have a craft beer stall at the Centre on the day. Entry is free and there will be craft activities and chance to personalise a leaf for our 30th anniversary tree. Raffle prizes have been donated by The Woods Cyclery, Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers and Tip, Leaf and Bean Café. The Centre’s mascot Pete the Pony will be on hand to blow out the candles on the birthday cake, baked by Jenny Angel from Rosedale Bed & Breakfast in Lyndhurst.
The Centre’s free museum, gallery, gift shop and the Tip, Leaf and Bean Café will all be open.