In 1981 Rhoda Blanche Helen Gray (1921-1987), a resident of Great Yarmouth, bequeathed a collection of her personal belongings to the University of East Anglia. Rhoda acknowledged that gifting her small pieces of domestic ware, souvenirs and ornaments would ‘no doubt raise a few eyebrows’; nevertheless, she hoped they could be used to benefit the University.
Having been involved in helping students on their travels, she was particularly keen that her collection help young people gain an appreciation of the wider world. Eventually the collection found its way to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts where it became part of the Education Department’s handling collection for use in public programmes.
Who was Rhoda Gray? displays Rhoda’s collection of over two hundred fascinating curiosities, bequeathed to the University in 1987. The collection includes royal memorabilia and souvenirs from around the world alongside items that relate to Rhoda’s personal life. Although very little is known about Rhoda’s life, her objects and the personal notes attached to them show that she made global connections from her home in Great Yarmouth.