Museum plan economically flawed

I AM very concerned about the plan to close North Somerset Museum in Burlington Street.

I AM very concerned about the plan to close North Somerset Museum in Burlington Street.

If the Mercury has quoted Cllr Bryant accurately, the plan is to move the collections "lock stock and barrel" to a new and undetermined site, but can North Somerset Council assure us that public funds for a new museum building will ever be made available? In any case the old gasworks building, chapel and Clara's Cottage are museum pieces in themselves, worthy of preservation and presentation to the public for their own sakes.

I also think the plan is flawed economically.

* It will cost a great deal to pack up and store the collections indefinitely.

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* Mobile displays are prohibitively expensive as I know from running just one mobile display caravan at the time of the NHS' 50th anniversary. Exhibits have to be secure and insured and can only realistically cover one topic at a time.

* Curatorial staff will be needed to manage such displays and to fulfill the statutory duties of the council with regard to archaeology and education.

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* The buildings will turn out to be worth less than you might hope, being listed and with - as is always being pointed out to us - no parking facilities.

All in all, it would seem to me to be far better to store the museum's collections precisely where they are until a bigger and better site becomes available, and in the meantime to advertise and signpost our splendid, prize-winning museum more effectively.

There is no doubt in my mind that the people of North Somerset value their museum. Perhaps, if the council cannot continue to provide such services in future, the time is ripe to re-consider selling the museum and its contents to a trust set up by local people to run them instead.


Upper Church Road


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