Utterly appalled

FOLLOWING the report in the Weston Mercury on January 28 which announced that the Council favours the closure of North Somerset Museum, I am utterly appalled at this proposal, which has all the earmarks of actually being a decision.

FOLLOWING the report in the Weston Mercury on January 28 which announced that the Council favours the closure of North Somerset Museum, I am utterly appalled at this proposal, which has all the earmarks of actually being a decision.

It is cultural vandalism and philistinism of the worst order. As an archaeologist I will be deprived of a valuable research resource and repository for finds and as a resident of northern Somerset, the chance to study and enjoy my local history and heritage will disappear.

The following questions need to be answered by the council: Has an interest been expressed in the Burlington Street premises? How much is the sale of these premises expected to raise? In view of the fact that the Museum is a listed building and future use is therefore severely limited, what sort of use is it envisaged that the premises will be put to? Have the financial implications of these premises remaining empty for some time been considered? Where will the artefacts be stored and at what cost? Has the cost of long-term storage been considered? Will these storage facilities be suitably climate controlled for the fragile items, such as textiles and works of art? What arrangements will be set in place for access to the artefacts by researchers and students? In view of the large number of school visits that currently take place, have all the local Education Authorities been consulted? Have arrangements been made for schools to visit, study and view their local history and heritage in the future? What arrangements have been made for depositing archaeological finds in the future? What is going to happen to the two paintings by Gainsborough? Are any items currently held by the Museum going to be sold? If there are plans to sell artefacts, which ones have been identified?

It would also be interesting to know whether members of the council are happy with this betrayal of their moral obligation to protect, conserve and display the collections and artefacts which have been given to the museum over the past 150 years by local people, who believed that they would be enjoyed by future generations in perpetuity?


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ROBERTA BETTY

Gough Place, Cheddar

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