A unique natural science museum in Bournemouth is facing difficult times without the increased support of the public, according to members.
The Bournemouth Natural Science Society, formed in 1903, specialises in natural sciences, as well as having an extensive array of gemstones and an Egyptian collection. With dwindling finances, it is now facing a struggle to survive.
“We need the public in here. This place will disappear with no money and the council give nothing,” said Keith Patenotte, nine years a member and specialist in butterflies and moths.
It comes as visits to government sponsored museums were down 2.2% in August 2016 compared to 2015, according to figures from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Ray Chapman, a trustee of the BNSS, said “Within a few years [of opening] there were well over 400 members. Last year we were accredited as a proper museum with a fully catalogued collection”. Highlighting how the organisation has always had potential.
Statistics from the Museum Association show 82% of the British public want to have a museum or gallery in their local town or city and tourism in general is the UK’s fifth largest industry.
The BNSS has an extensive collection, including well over 40,000 fossils and while the organisation no longer condones the killing of animals to be used in this way, Mr Patenotte said “We educate thousands of kids. We make use of the past to make the future better.”
One new member exclaimed over “all the hidden treasures” which had been left to the society by fellow members. However, Mr Patenotte states the society “rely on donations” as well as selling tea and cakes, so without public support the BNSS may begin to struggle.
https://www.museumsassociation.org (Museum Association Website)
http://www.bnss.org.uk/ (Bournemouth Natural Science Society)