Museum could shut for up to 12 months

Harborough Museum
Harborough Museum

JOBS have been put at risk and the town’s museum faces being closed for a year in the wake of a refurbishment plan for the district council’s headquarters.

The much-lauded £1.6m improvements to Harborough District Council’s offices in Adam and Eve Street, Harborough, are due to be voted on by councillors later this month.

But one apparent victim of the revamp looks to be the assistants who have run the town’s museum for many years.

Staff at the museum, which underwent a £1m improvement scheme in 2011 to house the Hallaton Treasure coins haul, have been put at risk of redundancy and have been told the museum is likely to close for a year while the offices revamp goes ahead.

A worker there, who asked not to be identified, told the Mail: “Sadly all the museum assistant jobs are currently at risk in view of the planned building renovations.

“The museum will be closed for 12 months if the plan for the building is passed at the end of October.

“There will be a place for the museum, but the staffing will be done differently, probably by the library staff.

No-one quite knows yet how it will work.”

James Carpenter, a Blue Badge tourist guide from Harborough, said he was concerned over the news:

He said: “The town will be without this facility for up to a year.

“A good number of people visit the museum, including schools.

“Will it reopen in the same format or will the council take this opportunity to save money and downsize?

“Only recently, money was spent altering the museum to take the Hallaton Treasure, which now seems wasted.

“I have been told that for the duration of the closure the treasure will be displayed at a different location, probably in Leicester.”

David Johnson, of Harborough Historical Society which helps run the museum, said it has been consulted by the district and county councils but said it was too early to comment as no firm plans were yet on the table.

A Harborough Council spokesman said: “Steps to put staff posts at risk are appropriate when considering reorganisation.

“However, any decision around jobs will be dependent on the outcome of the full council meeting on October 22 when councillors will decide whether to press ahead with the redevelopment of the council building.”

A spokesman for County Hall, which pays for the museum’s keeper, said: “Any decisions about the next steps for the museum will be dependent on the meeting on Monday, October 22.”