Exmouth Museum launches £200,000 fundraising bid to keep town’s heritage

Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 39 17TI 1498. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 39 17TI 1498. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Museum is looking to raise £200,000 to purchase its Sheppards Row home and make sure the town’s historical artefacts are kept in Exmouth.

Exmouth’s museum faces a race against time to raise £200,000 if it is to secure the town’s heritage.

If the six-figure sum cannot be raised, the museum’s Sheppards Row home could be sold on the open market and the town may lose some of its historic artefacts, such as the original mechanism from the seafront clock tower.

Landowner South West Water (SWW) is looking to sell the Victorian building after the museum’s lease expired at the end of 2017.

The Museum Society of Exmouth has been told it needs to raise at least £130,000 to buy the building, but has set its sights on £200,000 to allow them to undertake ‘much needed’ renovation works.

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Brian Leader, steward organiser at the museum, has warned that if the money isn’t found, the artefacts could either be transported to other museums out of town or may even have to be ‘dumped’.

He said: “The museum contains a unique collection of artefacts and documents dating back hundreds of years to the present day – to lose this would be unthinkable.

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“If we were not able to raise the funds, we would probably have to distribute the artefacts to other museums.

“The town would definitely lose them and they could be dumped because we haven’t got anywhere to store them.

“We’re pushing for £200,000 because we need to do a lot of work to it.

“We’ve done as much work as we can, but unfortunately we would need a new reception area.”

Exmouth Museum was founded in 1985 with volunteers converting derelict Victorian stables into a ‘monument to the history of the town’.

After the museum’s lease with SWW expired at the end of last year, trustees took up an offer to buy the building and now need to raise the funds to stop it being sold on the open market.

The museum holds many photos and pictures showing how Exmouth has changed over years, including the docks and Clapps Café – a favourite meeting place for residents which is now a mobile phone shop.

The Museum Society of Exmouth will officially launch its fundraising campaign at a special exhibition being held at Ocean, in The Esplanade, on Thursday, February 15 between 10am and 6pm.

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