We should have a right to be able to see them

I CANNOT even begin to describe my feelings on seeing the headline in last week's Mercury.

I CANNOT even begin to describe my feelings on seeing the headline in last week's Mercury.

For nearly 30 years I worked at the museum. In that time we built it up from a small local museum over the library to a much-loved and appreciated attraction housed in its own magnificent building - itself an award-winning conversion from the old Gaslight Company Stores and with its own story to tell.

Over the last 150 years the collections have grown to reflect the lives of local people - not just Westonians, but from the whole district - from the earliest times to the present day. How can all this be thrown away in an instant by the short-sightedness or disinterest of so few.

There is little enough culture in Weston without losing the one resource that illustrates and gives tangible links to our past and roots.

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What will happen to the objects, large and small, that so many have gifted or bequeathed to the town? These belong to all of us and were given in the belief that they would be cherished for generations to come. And we should have a right to be able to see them. These may range from a family wedding dress to a local fishing boat. Neither of these examples can be displayed in a travelling exhibition or a 'small-scale visitor attraction'.

The one thing that distinguishes a museum from a book, television or theme park is objects - real, touchable, three-dimensional objects. How can you imagine the scale of something from a picture, and why should you when the real thing is there for everyone to see?

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Do those people who recommend the closure of the museum really want to go down in history as those who stripped North Somerset of its past?

I am tempted to paraphrase Winston Churchill in that "Never in the history of our town has so much been lost to so many by so few".


Shrubbery Road


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