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Steps being taken to retain Malton's Roman links
MALTON Museum may have closed its doors to the public a year ago this week – but steps are continuing to be taken to make sure its work and the town’s links with the Romans are not forgotten.
And hope still prevails among the trustees that one day funding will be forthcoming to allow a new museum to open.
Most of the artefacts are being kept in storage, although some are currently on display at an exhibition at Fairfax House in York.
The trustees have used the last 12 months to consolidate their position and look to the future. Peter Addyman took over as chairman and some of the trustees have changed.
The Museums in the Community Group has visited schools and recently held a Hands of History workshop with members of the Ryedale Forum 50+. Events have also been held at libraries in Pickering and Helmsley and during half-term at Malton and Norton.
Plans are also afoot to hold displays at village events, such as Weaverthorpe Open Gardens weekend, and to attend some of the agricultural shows.
Ryedale District Council has stumped up some money for the group and the aim is to buy portable display cases and stands. It is also hoped they could use some of the empty windows in Malton shops to put on displays.
Talks have been held with a company in York to set up a website which would include a virtual museum showing some of the artefacts and a diary of events.
Another aim is to have a re-interpretation of the Orchard Fields site between Malton and Old Malton to highlight the links there with the Roman Fort Deventia and make it more of a visitor attraction.
When the closure of the museum in the old town hall was first indicated, because Ryedale District Council decided not to renew the lease at a peppercorn rent, an application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the site. But, while the fund was, in principle, behind the idea, there were technical reasons why it could not provide the money. However, optimism prevails that one day some money will be forthcoming.
Margaret Shaw, who is a trustee of the museum and its education co-ordinator, said: “It is important that we open again because we are an amenity for the town. It would attract visitors and if we don’t keep our heritage alive then what is there for future generations to know about their past?”
Another idea being discussed is to have an annual lecture at the Milton Rooms which could link in with other elements of the town such as its growing reputation as a place to enjoy good food. In past years, Roman days attracted many visitors which also had a positive knock-on effect on local businesses.
“The museum as we knew it may be closed but it is certainly not dead and we are determined to promote our links with the Romans,” said Mrs Shaw.