A report to the Borough Growth Committee says that many artefacts have been on loan to the local authority for a “considerable period of time” including one for almost 30 years.
In addition, 72 artefacts owned by the council have been assessed as “hazardous” to staff and the public or “beyond economical repair or remedial conservation”.
Collections held by Mid and East Antrim Museums include 7,000 items of social and industrial history, at The Braid, in Ballymena, on a database, approximately 20 items, such as agricultural machinery in a store in Broughshane, 4,578 items in a store at Larne Museum and 18,000 items in a store at LEDCOM in Larne of photos, paintings, costume, metal, glass, fossils and tools.
The store at Carrickfergus Museum accommodates 300 textile items, 676 items of archaeological material, flint, bone, ceramics, wood, flint and bone as well as albums, books and maps.
The items proposed for disposal were inspected recently by Alderman Billy Ashe and Councillor Keith Turner.
Ald Ashe cautioned that although the items may not be of value to the council, they may be of value to a collector. He asked if local demand could be determined before disposal. citing potential income for the council.
Cllr Turner said that he has been lobbying for finance to digitise the collection but acknowledged it would involve “great expense to complete”.
Council officer Ross Hickey said that in terms of collectibles and potential income, he would be happy to take on board to make sure all appropriate channels are explored before disposal of any items.
Braid Ulster Unionist Councillor Robin Cherry asked for staff to “make sure everything is clean and tidy and in good shape” when the borough’s museums reopen.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.
Click here to read: New Larne store for 30,000 museum items
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