Thumbs up from Tower visitors!

Thumbs up from Tower visitors!

YPRES TOWER VISITORS’ BOOK

Note: There are also Visitors’ Books in the Women’s Tower and at East Street. We’ll report on them another time.  Thanks to Janet Stott for the photos.  Click on them for a larger view.

What a Visitors’ Book can tell us

Not everyone who visits our museums signs a Visitors’ Book, but those who do give us a good idea of the range of places they come from and what they think of our Rye Museum. We’ve recently bought yet another new Visitors’ Book for the Ypres Tower because the 740 entries in the existing one filled up all the pages. What follows is a report on some of the things the one being replaced has told us. We think it will make members prouder than ever that they support this major Rye attraction and hope it will encourage other viewers to join us.

Where do our visitors come from?

The visitors who wrote in the Ypres Tower Visitors’ Book during the 9 months covered came from half the 83 counties of England plus Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and from 35 other countries around the world. Not surprisingly there were many from Australia, Canada and the USA — all parts of each of them, as well as from New Zealand. There were significant numbers from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in Europe but also multiple book-signing visitors from Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. Visitors from Asia came from Japan (the greatest number of signers), China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand while from South America we had visitors from Argentina, Brazil and Columbia. There were several from South Africa too.

What was their overall reaction to the visit?

Even allowing for ‘visitors’ book hyperbole’ the responses of all the contributors are so overwhelmingly positive you are in danger of bursting with pride if this is your town. These are some of the words and phrases which keep appearing throughout the book:

Brilliant – . Marvellous. Outstanding. Excellent experience. Awesome (One of these is followed by four very large exclamation marks). Mindblowing. Really cool!, Very good value. Impressive. Thumbs up! Smashing! Fascinating! Thought-provoking. Absolutely great! Absolutely unmissable! Great find! Thank you, thank you! Lovely, will be back! Well worth the journey! Wonderful little museum: Loved it! Such a friendly museum. What a find! Great value for money!

Some comments are more idiosyncratic: Hi guys! It’s amazeballs! (Belgium)

And these are some of the ways of summing up the appeal:

  • Such a welcoming place with informative staff. Fascinating look into history.
  •  A good place to visit with kids (Mexico)What a lovely tiny castle! (Italy)
  • Amazing place to visit. In Australia we think 1850 is ancient!
  • Bonzer museum. Nothing like it in Ozz (Gold Coast, Australia)
  • All so well-presented. I’m very lucky to be here and learn such interesting stories. (Indonesia)
  • Great museum. It’s like going back in time. Nice gentleman on the desk. Thank you! (Family from Portugal)
  • Such a history – absolutely enthralling. Never imagined it would be so enlightening. Just the right amount of information; Great views too!
  • Great little museum! Lots to see, great view and for a very good price. So many questions answered. A wonderful dip into the past. Amazing to see things as they were hundreds of years ago.
  • So informative, so well presented. We learned a lot. All so well-presented. I’m very lucky to be here and learn such interesting stories. (Indonesia)
  • Riveting museum, history coming alive! Thoroughly enjoyable. Will recommend.
  • A lovely collection of extraordinary things.
  • Such a friendly museum. Lots of fun facts.
  • Really opened my eyes. Thank you. Excellent insight into the history of Rye.
  • Fantastic way to take in the local history.
  • What a discovery Such a wealth of history. Thank you
  • What a gem. So glad we found it. So many interesting artefacts and facts.
  • Wonderful to have so much history in this small town, so well presented.
  • Such a quaint museum in a quaint town. Lovely!
  • Gem of a museum. Worth the admission for the view alone.

A major ‘Like’ proved to be our guides (and lunchtime volunteers):

Our guides were singled out repeatedly for their ‘friendly welcome’ and for being ‘so very knowledgeable’ and were often included in longer comments, e.g. e.g. A fantastic Rye weekend. Lovely museum. Thank you to a great receptionist.

A sampling of other ways of putting it:

  • The chap downstairs really knows his stuff! Give him a medal!
  • The man at the desk is a good storyteller.
  • Very friendly and helpful man on the entrance desk.
  • Really enjoyed chatting with the chap on the desk, very informed and interesting.
  • The man downstairs was very nice. (Child visitor)
  • Lovely staff!

3 guides fireplace 2As you can see from the photos, our three guides (left to right: Ted Emson, head guide Toby Major, and Mike Berry) also have a sense of humour. Be assured that the days when those in charge of the Castle managed prisoners with strict discipline, spartan diet and long hours alone in dark cells are long over. Our guides welcome guests!

What did parents say?

There were many comments along the lines of ‘The kids really enjoyed it.’ Some examples:

  • Really wish I’d brought the kids. They’d have loved it too.
  • Appreciated interactives for the kids: map and pulling longbow
  • The children loved it too. So many interesting things for them to see and do. Really interesting and my children loved everything.
  • We and our young children have all enjoyed our visit.
  • Very enjoyable family experience
  • Will bring grandsons next time!
  • This castle has been one of the best parts of our whole trip.

As for the children . . . (Spellings remain uncorrected.)

  • I really liked it but it was freaky.
  • I don’t really like history but today I loved it!
  • It was lots of fun finding Captain Pugwash.
  • Wouldn’t want to be a prisoner in them days!
  • The best museum I’ve ever seen in my life. I like it especialy the guns and quizes. Normaly get board of museums but this one has got somthing to it. (Sic)
  • One of the best castle museums ever! (Bobby age 8 ½)
  • Very super and interesting. I love history and I love this museum too.
  • I want to come back as it was all very good here.
  • Really nice for a class trip. Much better than I expected.
  • Awesome and very cheap. 5 star . (Australian child)
  • Brilleant day out.
  • I would definately come here again
  • Like a real-life fairy tale.
  • Really spooky!
  • I loved it! It was fantastic and amazing, very amusing and interesting.
  • It was very nice! (Young boy with mother, from Russia)
  • I learned so much. Now I’m going to see the Women’s Prison!

What in particular appealed to children?

There were many mentions of the Pugwash quiz. As for features and exhibits, the man trap, the skeleton, the map of the changing coastline (with buttons to push!), the smuggling stories, medieval weapons in the basement and the trip steps were among the most mentioned but there were individual likes too. Sample comments:

  • Man trapThat man trap – Goodness me! (Most mentioned exhibit)
  • Those traps look mean!|
  • Oh man. I would NOT like to get caught in that man trap!
  • This is so fascinating. All these creepy objects that are now illegal!
  • The skeleton is awesome and a bit scary.
  • I liked seeing the cells. It was scary when we went in and shut the door and it was so dark.
  • Very interesting. Great info, especially about the smuggling gangs. Well worth a visit.
  • I enjoyed learning about the pre-Roman coastline.
  • I loved the big map showing the sea disappearing and pics of Captain Pugwash.
  • I liked the model of the old coastline and the buttons you can push. I knew all the places on the maps too.
  • I loved the medieval weapons in the basement.
  • I loved the treasure hunt.
  • My favourite was looking at all the clothes.
  • I liked those trip steps!

Adults commented on all the above (with similar attention to the man trap) and more besidesSome examples:

  • Tower History EmbroideryThe summed up history [of Rye and the Museum] in the embroidery.
  • Loved the chronological history beside the skeleton cell.
  • Excellent museum. Great to see how prisoners used to be treated — so different now.
  • An especially interesting castle. Good to see original features such as the ancient oak doors
  • Can’t get the missus to step on the man trap! Note to self: Avoid man traps!
  • Delightful visit. Good to know man traps are illegal!
  • The man trap is affecting. The story of the poor must be told and not forgotten.
  • The smuggling cell and smuggling stories. Shiver me timbers!
  • Very atmospheric building. Fascinating to learn of the smugglers in times gone by.
  • Superb views.
  • Lovely to see inside the castle. Fascinating map of the coastline.
  • A real old castle and what a view.
  • Liked the views and the walled garden.
  • Amazing views over the marshes and out toward the sea.
  • I found Dr Wilson’s hydrostatic balls particularly engrossing.

Also mentioned: the rules of the gaol, the guns, the uniforms

From new and returning visitors to the Tower

Some locals have been late to discover our Museums, some want to see or show their children where they or their forebears lived, and Rye is a popular place for special weekends such as anniversaries. (The compiler knows of some cases where visitors here for those special weekends decided to move here!)

  • I’ve lived here for 14 years but this is my first visit to the museum and I love it! It sums up this wonderful little town. Will be back again.
  • Despite living a 5 minute walk away we have never been before. Spectacular views and the children especially loved the light-up map. Great.
  • Almost like home! Have seen other like-minded Americans here too. (Rye, New York)
  • Showing our ‘Kiwi’ children where we used to holiday with Granny. Great memories. (New Zealand family)
  • A special place on a special weekend. Thank you.
  • Our visit to the museum was a lovely piece of our weekend away.
  • Pleased to have made a visit here at long last. (We’re now in our 80’s)
  • Wonderful to finally visit this beautiful historic town and tower in the flesh!
  • Our third visit to this wonderful town.
  • Beautiful trip down memory lane.
  • Rye and the Museum have given us a view of our heritage.

Many comments combined praise for the town and praise for the Tower and many ended with ‘We’ll be back again!’

  • Very very like!! So good town. (Japan)
  • It’s better than Venice (Australian child)
  • We like it here! (New Zealand family)
  • The most beautiful place I’ve seen so far (Child from Western Australia)
  • Beautiful town and museum. Long may its heritage remain unspoilt
  • Castle beautifully preserved just like the town. Will be back.
  • Something of interest around every corner of Rye
  • Such a wonderful place with such amazing history. Be back soon!
  • A wonderful find in this beautiful town
  • The town and museum just breathe history. We love it. (Belgian family)
  • We’ve loved seeing the history behind Rye
  • Amazing history in a fabulous town. Loved it!
  • So glad we came to beautiful Rye and to the Museum. We’ll be coming again
  • First visit but it won’t be the last
  • We’ll be back again.
  • Rye is fab!
  • Rye is perfect!

First posted in Featured, Said about the Museum, Ypres Tower Posts on 1st January 2016
Last updated: 1st January 2016