Museum applies for £500k grant

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 January 2012

Weston Museum, Burringham street.

Weston Museum, Burringham street.

Archant

WESTON Museum aims to extend its opening hours by the summer, reduce staff numbers and take on a band of 25 volunteers - while applying for a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The museum, in Burlington Street, decided to adopt the volunteer scheme due to proposed changes in opening times and after its facilities manager left for another job.

While the contents are partly owned by Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council, Weston Town Council takes charge of the museum and owns the building.

The town council’s clerk Malcolm Nicholson said there are plans to open the museum on Sundays and extend its hours through the week, and as a result four part-time members of staff have now taken early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

He said: “This leaves five members of staff at the museum and we have now got about 25 active volunteers. We are very grateful to the volunteers but we are keeping staff as well.

“It’s a positive situation and we hope to have extended opening times by the summer. We will be working towards opening times of 10am-5pm and will work towards Sunday opening hours so that people with families can come when children are not at school.”

Members of the museum’s working party have also applied for a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out restoration works, install a lift for better access to the whole museum and to improve the displays.

Chairman of the museum working party, John Crockford-Hawley, said: “The museum has become very tired looking over the past 10 or 15 years and the displays have not changed.

“We want to change things, we want to bring it up to date and make it much more exciting and involve people of all age groups in the town.

“And I hope we can encourage Somerset County Council to bring in more displays.”

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