‘PRICELESS’ artefacts still locked away after the closure of a Boscombe museum 13 years ago are simply plastic souvenirs and books, a councillor has said.
Bournemouth’s deputy mayor, Cllr Rod Cooper, asked about the contents of the Shelley Rooms, which were placed in archives after the closure of the facility in 2001, during a full council meeting on Tuesday.
He said: “I understand that most, if not all, of the artefacts in the museum, some of which were priceless, belonged to the council and that the council planned to move them to the Russell-Cotes Museum. “This never happened but they were placed in storage. Would the portfolio holder please tell me where this storage is? Are you able to provide me with a list of the artefacts? Can they be viewed by the public? What plans are there for them in the future?”
But Cllr Lawrence Williams, cabinet member for leisure, said the material held by former owner and operator Margaret Brown before its transfer to the borough council was “mostly secondary in nature and not of museum quality”.
“For example, there were photocopies of material held elsewhere, books of the poetry, although not first editions, and souvenir trinkets such as a plastic Frankenstein’s Monster figure,” he said.
“The collection is lacking in any sort of significance given that it does not contain any original manuscripts from either Mary or Percy, the books are not first or rare editions and any primary material of note within the collection was held on loan.”
He said the exception was a group of loans belonging to two private individuals, which were of museum quality, and have been returned to them.
Remaining items are held in store within the council’s archives.