The Isle of Wight council are looking at their future involvement with Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown.
In a quiet way – there have been no general press releases – the council has organised an event next Tuesday that they’re labelling a ‘Soft Market Test Event’. Surprisingly, no tickets are available for the event, only the offer of a waiting list.
The event’s marketing blurb says they, “will shortly be seeking a development partner or consortia.” The write up continues, “In due course, we intend to run an open competitive process to select a preferred partner (or consortia)”.
Having another go
The disposal of Dinosaur Isle was first raised in 2010 during the last Conservative administration at County Hall. This was shelved in the run up to the 2013 local elections and remained so during the rule of the Island Independents.
It’s now back in full swing with options being explored under Dave Stewart and his Conservative administration.
The Friends: Eight years of discussion
It’s not like there haven’t been any offers to take Dinosaur Isle off the council’s hands.
The Friends of Dinosaur Isle – a set of knowledgeable Islanders who are passionate believers in the value and future of the Sandown-based museum – have been trying since the original threat to sell.
Knowing of the threat of disposal, the Friends have been in discussion with the council for eight years in an attempt to protect this asset for future generations of Islanders.
As yet, even after all of this time, the council hasn’t allowed this to happen. OnTheWight has asked the council why this is and we’ll publish their response when they reply.
“We have a world-class collection,” Dr Jeremy Lockwood, Chairman of the Friends of Dinosaur Isle and research associate with Southampton University told OnTheWight, “We’ve had such a strong response from people on the Island – Very positive.”
Dinosaur Isle has rare museum ‘Accredited status’
Not everone on the Isle of Wight knows, but Dinosaur Isle has the rare honour of being a museum with ‘Accredited status’. This can only be held by a museum that is controlled by a non-commercial body.
“The loss of accreditation can have a profound effect on the council getting charitable funding in the future,” Pam Ash, a committee member of the Friends told OnTheWight.
Dinosaur Isle history
Dinosaur Isle was completed in 2001 – it was the first purpose-built dinosaur museum in the UK.
It cost £2.7m and was enabled by a lottery grant from the Millennium Commission.
Isle of Wight: Top Dino location
The Isle of Wight is highly regarded in the dinosaur world.
- The most dinosaur remains of anywhere in Europe
- Top 5-6 places in the World
- For its size, it’s unrivaled
Image: © Isle of Wight Council