Nearly half a million people in China tuned in to watch a live stream tour of a tiny English village museum.
Feixue Huangdu, a Chinese student at Nottingham Trent University, visited Ruddington’s Village Museum as part of a series of heritage-themed webcasts.
The humble Nottinghamshire attraction has only had 75,000 visitors since it opened in 1968.
Bosses said it was “therefore something of a surprise” to welcome 434,000 virtual visitors from China.
Miss Huangdu, who is studying for a masters degree in museum and heritage development, picked the Village Museum for her latest webcast. It follows trips to other sites including Trent Bridge cricket ground, Wollaton Hall in Nottingham and Belton House in Lincolnshire.
She said her tour of the attraction, which explores the retail life of Victorian and early Edwardian Britain, had attracted her largest ever audience since she started the webcasts two years ago.
“When I realised the size of the audience figures, I felt very excited and took it as proof that what I am doing is valuable. It also showed the great charm of British heritage to Chinese audiences,” she said.
“For Chinese viewers, most of them will never have the chance travel to UK in their lives, let alone visit these museums, but they are really interested in learning about British culture and heritage.
“I really want to do more live stream broadcasts, not just in Nottingham, but in the whole of Britain.”
Ruddington Village Museum: What’s there?
- Based in a former Victorian school in the heart of Ruddington
- Features retail-based exhibits from the late 19th Century and early 20th Century
- Items include dolls, rocking horses, infant feeding bottles, flat irons and a telephone exchange
- Tours last between 45 minutes and two hours “depending on the loquaciousness of the volunteer on duty”
- Not to be confused with Ruddington’s other main attraction, the Framework Knitters Museum – nor indeed its popular village cat Wilbur, known to some fans as the King of Ruddington.
Gavin Walker, vice chairman at the museum, said: “Four museum guides took Feixue on a tour which, with simultaneous translation and a barrage of questions from viewers, took rather longer than usual.
“The item which provoked the most questions was a 1930s black doll. It seems all dolls in China are Chinese in appearance.
“The most difficult items to explain were wooden clothes pegs and a washing line. Despite lots of miming, we’re still unsure whether clothes lines are a feature of life in China.”
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Volunteers also showed Miss Huangdu and her viewers a selection of rocking horses, cobblers’ equipment and a fish and chip shop counter.
Mr Walker said: “Feixue’s been a delight to work with and her live stream has raised the museum’s profile locally as well as internationally. The museum guides are in danger of becoming local celebrities.”