Over 30 interested and concerned residents were in attendance at a meeting of the Executive Committee of Surrey Heath Borough Council on Tuesday 6th March, where the future of Surrey Heath Heritage Services was discussed.
The plans for the future, as described in the council press release below, does not include a museum. While not stating the word closure, it says, “Whilst we will not be operating our museum service from the current site after the Easter holiday”, which means the same thing.
I’ll write more about the council’s decision in the coming days and weeks. My photo of one the many successful Museum exhibitions.
At a meeting of the Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council last night (Tuesday 6 March) Councillors voted to adopt the changes proposed for Surrey Heath Heritage Services. This followed a consultation about the future of Surrey Heath Museum and Heritage Services, which ran for several months at the end of last year.
The Council engaged with a wide variety of community groups and individuals, receiving more than 400 responses. Feedback from regular museum visitors and local historical societies as part of the User Group discussion process confirmed the view that the museum is not in the right location. This was supported by declining visitor numbers to the premises at Surrey Heath House, Camberley, which was launched as a temporary site in 1986.
Feedback from the consultation has informed plans for the future of Heritage Services which include expanding the existing programme of events, workshops, walks and talks, outreach work with schools and other community groups and research.
Whilst we will not be operating our museum service from the current site after the Easter holidays, the Executive also approved proposals for further development of the service to include an improved online catalogue of the collection, a display in reception at Surrey Heath House; more temporary exhibitions and events at different locations around the Borough, and an extended exhibition in Camberley Town Centre throughout the summer – bringing heritage into the heart of our community, and helping reach new and wider audiences across Surrey Heath and beyond.
Surrey Heath Borough Council will continue to strive for Arts Council Accreditation for the collection, and is delighted that the mission statement which is essential to this process was unanimously agreed by the Executive: “Surrey Heath Heritage Services exist to preserve, manage and document the heritage of this Borough. We will promote our unique heritage by public exhibitions, events, outreach and research access.”
Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Business Cllr Craig Fennell said: “The history of this Borough remains of paramount importance but we must stay relevant to what future generations want from a heritage service, and continue to reach a wider community. These proposals will breathe new life into the service – the thousands of artefacts in the collection will tell the story of our past to current and future generations, enabling a wider audience to enjoy smaller, more frequent exhibitions in easy-to-access locations.”
More information about upcoming exhibitions and events will be available on our website. www.surreyheath.gov.uk/museum