Exmouth museum closes for winter after a successful year

Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton Explorer Scouts visiting Exmouth Museum

Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton Explorer Scouts visiting Exmouth Museum - Credit: Exmouth Museum

Exmouth Museum has reported a rise in visitor numbers during 2021, following four years of uncertainty about its future. 

Staff have expressed gratitude to local residents for their support this year after what they said had been ‘a terribly difficult time’. 

The difficulties began back in 2017 when South West Water, which owned the museum building in Sheppards Row, announced that it was being put up for sale, but offered the trustees the chance to buy it before it was put on the open market. 

A fundraising campaign was launched, raising £72,000 towards a target of £150,000. But the breakthrough did not come until October 2019 when East Devon District Council agreed to lend the trustees up to £105,000, using money borrowed from the Public Works Loans Board. 

The Covid pandemic delayed negotiations, but in March this year the trustees announced that the purchase of the building had been completed. 

They expressed gratitude to the many local individuals, businesses and societies who had donated to the campaign.  

With the museum now closed for the winter, improvement work is being carried out in preparation for its reopening on April 4, 2022. 

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However, it will still be possible for local groups and societies to arrange private visits to the museum this winter, provided they can fit in around the work taking place there. 

The last group visit of this year was by the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton Explorer Scouts, who toured the museum on Saturday, November 15. 

Museum spokesman Mike Menhenitt said: “They impressed the museum staff with their interest shown in many of the exhibits and the questions they asked. 

“If any local groups would like to arrange a visit we would be delighted to hear from you and look forward to welcoming you. 

“The museum is a wonderfully fascinating place packed with a wealth of exhibits and information on the history of the town and its people.” 

Anyone who would like to arrange a visit with their club or society is asked to email Mike at mike.menhenitt@btinternet.com 

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