Southend artefacts and artwork to be moved to ‘alternate storage’

PRECIOUS artefacts and works of art are to be moved to ‘alternate storage’ to allow more space for exhibitions in Southend.

Southend’s artefacts are currently in storage at the Beecroft Gallery and the Central Museum, both on Victoria Avenue, but the volume of the collection leaves little room for display.

The council is in the process of drawing up plans to move the collection to better storage facilities.

Carole Mulroney, councilor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The big problem is storage. The central museum does not lend itself to much.

“We are looking for alternative storage because we want to organize bigger and better exhibitions.

“A business case will be established for the future.

“There has been so much collected over the years. At the moment, the public can go to the Wunderkammer exhibition.

“The curators went through it all and picked out some of the interesting stuff that had never been on display before.

“The storage room is full of stuff, so it’s almost impossible to display it all.”

Some artifacts containing the Prittlewell Prince finds and the nation’s largest collection of EKCO radios were damaged in a 2020 flood.

Objects in the collections were saved as a priority, with most avoiding serious damage.

A report to Southend’s cabinet said: ‘Items currently in storage are blocking valuable display space in prime locations, preventing the presentation of key parts of Southend’s history and art collection. Items stored offsite are also over capacity and a flood on site in 2020 damaged part of the collection. Appropriate works and revised storage space must be resolved. This could include a new Collections Center feature in future years where storage and presentation for groups could be expanded.

A spokesperson for the council added: ‘There are a variety of objects ranging from fine art to archaeology, some of which come from the London shipwreck dives and the team are using exhibits to tell new stories and make rotate some of this material.

The Wunderkammer: Southend’s Cabinet of Curiosity exhibition at the Central Museum until October 2022.

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