Wisbech and Fenland Museum reject overtures to create new body to run Wisbech Castle as well - now both will go it alone

PUBLISHED: 16:59 30 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 30 July 2017

Children's activities at Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Children's activities at Wisbech and Fenland Museum


A new lease of life has been promised by the board of Wisbech and Fenland Museum who rejected an approach by Wisbech Town Council that could have seen it incorporated into a new trust to also run Wisbech Castle.

“A new staged development to secure the future of Wisbech and Fenland Museum is underway in its 170th year,” said a museum spokesman.

The announcement pre-empted town council leader Sam Hoy’s statement to a county council committee when she successfully won a bid for the town to take over the castle.

She told a county council committee that “the representatives of the Wisbech and Fenland Museum were not keen to work with Wisbech Town Council to create any sort of large trust to manage both buildings as they did not feel that they have the capacity”.

Helped by a £94,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum says the cash will be used to carry out repair work and offer new educational activities at the museum.

The museum spokesman said that in the short term, there will be increased commercial activities and grants sought to promote educational activity.

“A capital programme of works will be developed for the urgent and long term repairs required to the historic building, to ensure it remains as a fit for purpose museum site,” he said.

Tricolor Associates heritage development consultants carried out an options appraisal for the museum and presented it to the directors after two months of community consultation, expert audits and financial analysis.

The spokesman said: “The future of the museum involves exciting partnerships with other arts and heritage organisations in the region, testing out new opening days, new commercial activities, artists exploring the unique collection and opportunities for the local community to take part”

Martin Lawrence, the resilience project committee chair, said: “The board, staff, volunteers, Friends group, town, district, county councils, Heritage Lottery Fund, SHARE, and a fast growing number of supportive heritage organisations and visitors, are all getting more involved as the project is picking up pace.

Ari Volanakis, project manager, said: “There is a lot to achieve at this important time for the museum. There has already been a fantastic level of support for the museum which is helping to take us forward.’

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