Welcome to the Friends of Herne
Bay Museum, which has come into being really as a result of last years
bombshell announcement of possible closure. The campaign group that
formed in response to this threatforms the core of the current
committee. The reason for the Friends is the need to cement the mass of
protest into something more substantial, and to be a more positive,
creative and active influence in support of our town museum.
how successful have we been? There have been a number of meetings
recently with the Council and other bodies concerning Herne Bay Museum
as well as other CCC museums under threat. The government body, the MLA
(Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) has got involved and is
currently undertaking a review on the whole museum service.
holding question and answer sessions with council staff, museum staff
and stakeholders (the Friends were represented in this group), the MLA
assessors delivered a short verbal report to the council that we are
told was highly critical. In September they will produce a definitive
written report with recommendations, which we understand will be
Since then the
Council has held a Museum Stakeholder Consultation Day with all the
major stakeholders represented. There was vigorous debate and many
different points of view expressed. The discussion covered the future of
the service, its major flaws and current council policy. The Council’s
job is now to take all the information and ideas from the whole review
process and begin to draft new polices in line with the current economic
situation, the criticisms expressed throughout the campaign since last
November and the results of the MLA review.
We expect that
sometime in September there will be a further meeting and then we will
get some idea of their intentions. The only certain thing is that the
campaign, both in Herne Bay and in Canterbury has had an impact upon
Council thinking, but it remains to be seen whether that has materially
affected the future shape of the museum.
David Cross, secretary