Museums to return donations

CHRIS BISHOP Museum collections in west Norfolk have become so cluttered that curators want to give some items back to the people who donated them.

CHRIS BISHOP

Museum collections in west Norfolk have become so cluttered that curators want to give some items back to the people who donated them.

Lynn Museums' storerooms are running out of space, warns a report to councillors on the area museums committee.

The paper, by area museums officer Robin Hanley, says: "The stores of King's Lynn Museums contain a number of large social history objects which were brought in to the collections during the 1970s, at a time when museums generally were actively collecting items in a relatively uncontrolled manner, without reference to an official collecting policy or adequate quality control.


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"As a result, the collections

contain items which are

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duplicated, of poor quality, or

which require the allocation of considerable conservation resources.

"Most of these objects have little or no provenance and have no known relevance to the local history of the area."

Dr Hanley said many of the objects took up large amounts of space, while some showed signs of woodworm infestation, which was a threat to more valuable items in the collection.

He said a review had identified a number of items which were of "minimal interest" in interpreting the history of King's Lynn, which would free up space and resources were they to be removed.

Items proposed for "decommissioning" include:

A manhole cover;

A horse-drawn hearse;

A boneshaker bicycle with its front wheel missing;

A lawnmower;

A dentist's chair;

Two whale bones found in the garden of a former pub.

Mr Hanley said staff would try to trace donors of items which were no longer required which had been given in the last 20 years.

If they could be traced, they would be asked whether they wanted the items back.

Older items and those whose donors could not be traced would be offered to other museums. If none were interested, the items would be sold or destroyed.

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