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Museum to get new lease of life

Volunteers hope to bring Herne Bay Museum back to life after winning a bid to take it over. The Friends of Herne Bay Museum group has successfully released the William Street venue from council control. The bid was launched following the council’s decision to close the museum for most of the year to save costs, reducing its opening hours to the summer months and half-term during the winter. The Friends group now hopes to open the building all year round after their plea was approved by the council executive on Thursday last week. Friends secretary David Cross hopes the group can rejuvenate the museum and make it a key attraction for the town. He said:

“We are very pleased. but we’ve got lots of work to do now. We are still looking for as many volunteers to come forward as possible. The big idea is to refresh the museum. We all agree it looks a little dated and a bit stale. It can look like it is in the 1970s with very bright clashing colours. So we’re going to get it painted throughout into a better scheme to give it a new identity and invigorate it.”

The group will now debate what sort of exhibitions could be brought in to boost the museum as a key attraction for the town. The last exhibition to be held in the autumn was for director Ken Russell’s film French Dressing, which was filmed in Herne Bay 50 years ago. Mr Cross added:

“We will hold a public meeting for anyone who is interested to see which direction we are going in. We want to concentrate on how to effectively spend the money. A huge round of applause must go to the volunteers who have waded through acres of documents and have done sterling work to bring us this far.”

Ideas for new exhibitions are yet to be revealed. The museum is set to reopen on Saturday, May 23. Talks are taking place with groups such as the Historical Records Society, Friends of the Clock Tower and the Pier Trust in order to bring exciting new exhibitions to the town. There will be a public meeting for people interested in getting involved on Friday, March 27, at the Retreat Club on the seafront. It will begin at 7pm. For more information visit www. http://thernebaymatters.com/fohbm.

Herne Bay Gazette, March 19th 2015

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