A member of the local history society is upset over plans to remove one of Grantham Museum’s key artefacts.
The bouncing bomb, which has been on display at the museum as part of the Dambusters exhibition, will be returned to Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) Heritage Services next week.
But Richard Titley, a member of Grantham Historical Society, believes that the bomb should remain in town.
He said: “It is a major part of our town’s history. A large proportion of its design was done at the former Shirley Croft Hotel, in Harrowby Road.
“My wife was a volunteer at the museum when it arrived many years ago and it has remained a key part of the museum ever since. Apparently it was meant to have been removed last year but it was delayed but I am concerned that we won’t get it back if we let it go. The bomb is unique to Grantham and belongs here.”
John Manterfield, secretary of Grantham Civic Society, is hopeful that it will only be removed temporarily.
He said: “We are very keen for artefacts and items with close connections to Grantham to remain in Grantham, but we understand that items can sometimes be loaned for periods of time to other museums.
“St Vincent’s Hall in Grantham was the Lincolnshire headquarters of the Dambusters’ operation and bomber command, so it is only proper that an example of the bomb casing should remain in the Grantham area.”
When contacted by the Journal, David Burling, project director of Grantham Museum, explained that the bouncing bomb is on loan.
He said: “The collection that is on show in Grantham Museum is owned by LCC Heritage Services. We have loan agreements in place for all of the artefacts on show and as such we have a responsibility to adhere to these agreements in our partnership with them. The loan period that was previously agreed some years ago is over and it needs to be returned. This does not mean it will be gone permanently or that our displays are under threat. We have secured further exhibits and exhibitions to tell the story of the bouncing bomb over the rest of the year. We have developed our working relationship with Lincolnshire Heritage Services over the last five years and we are grateful for the support they have provided since we re-opened the museum as a charity. If we did not have this partnership, there would be no museum.”
Exhibitions director Christine Robbins added: “It is the 75th anniversary of the Dams raid in May and Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage have requested the bomb to form part of their anniversary celebrations. We have been in discussion with the LCC Museums Service and very much hope that the bomb will return to us later this year.”
The museum is planning further exhibitions to commemorate the RAF centenary, Albert Ball, an exhibition of Stukely drawings and continuing support of the Gravity Fields Festival.
Mr Burling added: “We are about to begin a brand new season of Tales of Grantham as well as creating audio and video archive for our website. All of this on top of a newly refurbished Margaret Thatcher exhibition, our permanent Sir Isaac Newton display with replica apothecary shop and interactive Newton Trail, an authentic 1950s shop display and an updated and overhauled Dambusters exhibition.
“Grantham Museum remains committed to telling the story of Grantham. I hope that the Grantham public will continue to support our mission to educate, inform and inspire.”
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