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Black Country Museum celebrates its 10 millionth visitor

By Dayna Farrington | Dudley | Dudley entertainment | Published:

Black Country Living Museum marked a major milestone today as it welcomed its 10 millionth visitor.

Heidi Ackroyd and her family, with staff from Black Country Museum, celebrate her becoming the 10 millionth visitor

Heidi Ackroyd, 42, from Nottingham, visited the Tipton Road museum on Wednesday with her children, Edward, six, and Felicity, four, as well as their uncle James and aunt Kayleigh for a family day out.

She was surprised to discover she in fact the 10 millionth visitor through the doors – and received a special 'golden ticket' gift pack to mark the occasion from the museum's chief executive Andrew Lovett.

During its preview season in 1978, around 8,800 people visited to see how the 26 acres of former industrial land was being transformed into a museum celebrating Black Country industry and people through living history.

Since then, the Black Country Living Museum has grown into a major heritage attraction – drawing more than 358,000 visitors in 2019.

During their visit on Wednesday, Heidi and her family were given VIP treatment as they enjoyed a chauffeur-driven ride around the site before receiving a welcome from a group of the museum’s historic characters in the Canalside Village.

As part of their gift pack, they received a year’s membership to the Black Country Living Museum, giving them benefits such priority access to event tickets and members-only behind the scenes tours.

The family’s day was also made extra special with £50 of vouchers to spend in the museum shops, as well as a complimentary portion of Hobbs & Sons’ famous fish and chips.

Heidi said: "We are absolutely over the moon to be the 10 millionth visitor. What a surreal experience, we were completely surprised when the policeman character approached us to give us our prize.”

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Mr Lovett added: "Welcoming 10 million visitors is a historic milestone and we are delighted to celebrate this with our visitors and staff today. I would like to thank everyone who’s shown us their support by visiting us since 1978.

"To have attracted so many visitors is a validation of the strength of our storytelling and the quality of the experience we offer. We are proud to have reached such a large audience over the years and to have had the opportunity to engage people with a story as rich and as globally significant as that of the Black Country.

"2020 is a historic year for BCLM in more ways than one. We are about to begin construction of our new development, Forging Ahead, which alongside an up-to-the-minute new visitor welcome, will feature a new town and industrial quarter set in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

"By celebrating the past, the museum continues to make a positive contribution to the Black Country’s future.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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