Heritage bosses vow to work with community to find home for museum items

Stamford Museum, Broad Street, Stamford.
Photo: Oliver
SM-S011608_028ow.jpg
Stamford Museum, Broad Street, Stamford. Photo: Oliver SM-S011608_028ow.jpg
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County council bosses say they are keen to work with the community to find a new home for artefacts currently in storage.

Lincolnshire County Council wrote to a number of stakeholders last week asking them to remove the items currently in a storage building at the back of Stamford Library. Among the artefacts stored are a variety of original documents, deeds, plans and indexes, as well as artefacts, including a huge section of a medieval painted wall which used to stand in the town.

It said the short-term plan was to relocate the items to its heritage store in Lincoln, where they could be properly looked after by experts.

But it has since backtracked, saying it is willing to work with local organisations to find a suitable place in Stamford.

Senior manager in charge of heritage services at the county council Tony McGinty said: “Since news broke of the move to Lincoln, we’ve been approached by some local people and organisations who believe it’s possible to find a suitable home for these items in Stamford itself.

“Although we’re not aware of a local facility which has the necessary expertise to ensure the items are properly preserved, we have agreed to postpone the move for the immediate future while we explore this further with the community.”

Many of the items were previously on display at Stamford Museum, which closed in 2011 as part of a cost-saving measure by the county council. Some artefacts were moved to Stamford Town Hall while a small Discover Stamford exhibition was created in the library. The items in storage have been available to view by appointment.

The building where the items are currently being stored belongs to the library which, from April, will be run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd. However, heritage services remain with the county council, which has created this issue.

Last week, the history society and the civic society jointly appealed for a location to store their belongings.

Philippa Massey, from the history society, said this week that it was “positive” the county council was open to discussing keeping the items within the town.

Former museum curator John Smith has also written to the county council to outline his concerns, saying it was important to retain the connection between a place and its artefacts. He also stated the collection would not be easily accessible in Lincoln.

Mr Smith also said in his letter: “If the collections, representing the heritage of Stamford, are removed from their place of origin it will be a further nail in the coffin against the hope of a museum returning to Stamford at some time in the future.”

The issue was raised at Tuesday’s Stamford Town Council meeting. Town clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg said councillors were concerned and she would be contacting the county council to arrange a meeting.

Stamford town councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing (Lib Dem), who was among those who campaigned to keep the museum open, told the Mercury: “We want the items to be kept in Stamford.”

Former town councillor Clem Walden gifted some items belonging to his ancestors, including tinmen’s tools, for the benefit of the town.

He said: “If they’re going to Lincoln, I want them back. They’re to do with the heritage of Stamford - not Lincoln.”