Museum Update. Treasurer Jim Longley

Wincanton Museum  Where are we now?

Many readers will know that we had to move from the cottage at 32 High Street in 2010.  However the Museum lives on and will shortly have a whole new future. But, as the heading says, where are we now?

We have been in productive discussions with South Somerset District Council (SSDC) and we have agreed, potentially, terms where we can utilise a room within the Wincanton Library, Carrington Way.  This is useful space immediately opposite the main entrance which used to house the Tourist Office.  The Library Staff have been incredibly supportive at both local and area level.  We in the throes of agreeing a three year lease, that we would expect to extend as the term matures.  The lease conditions are very favourable to us.  Once the lease is finalised it will be “all systems go” to put in place display cabinets and thence the artefacts. We will also introduce a modern electronic display to show other related presentations.  Proper signing will be arranged in the streets, and outside and inside the premises.

Funding has been carefully considered.  We hold certain reserves but the SSDC have been greatly supportive and have agreed a one off capital grant of £2,350.  Wincanton Town Council will also look favourably on an operational grant that will help us cover the rent and public liability insurance over the next three years.  A huge thank you is extended to both Authorities.

In the meantime the artefacts have been carefully preserved.  Some are in secure storage and interesting articles are on display in special cabinets at Wincanton Primary School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Primary School.  Other items are being shown, on loan, at King Arthur’s Community School (those relating to World War 2 to complement related studies) and in the restaurant at The Dolphin Hotel.  Important sorting, cleaning and cataloguing work continue.

So we are optimistic of reopening the Museum this summer (2012).  In the meantime our programme of regular history talks continue – see elsewhere on our web page for details.  We also need help from any interested party.  Currently our curator would appreciate support in the artefact management processes.  When we open (possibly 5 mornings a week) we will need additional volunteer stewards.  This is not an onerous task and full training and on-going support will be given.

Jim Longley   April 2012