Museum morale at rock bottom

"WHY bother?" That's the question Coffs Harbour Regional Museum volunteers are asking, after the two agency-appointed personnel for the museum had their working hours reduced to just 21 hours a week.

The volunteers are angry and disappointed at the move by the Coffs Harbour City Council, adding that without the full-time supervision of paid staff, they cannot produce the quality of work the museum has become known for.

The cuts have meant volunteers have had to band together just to keep the museum open on a Saturday.

Volunteer Col South, who said that without paid staff working full-time the museum will go backward, took his concerns to last Thursday's council meeting in a plea to get the staff hours restored.

But he holds little hope.

"Between us, the volunteers put in about 200 hours a week and we do quite a bit of work conserving, catalogue, digitising and preparing exhibits but that's all under supervision of the paid staff," Mr South said.

"When their hours were cut, our morale really took a hit. We just don't feel like that work is valued.

The Coffs Harbour Regional Museum is one of the few museums in the state that is funded by a council, and we are so grateful at what they've done for the museum.

"I just don't know why [the council] would take it on, and just when it is up and running and starting to succeed, they cut the funding. Now it's just going to go backward."

Beverley Chambers, who has volunteered at the museum since 1999, said the museum had come forward in leaps and bounds since council took over and is astounded at the move.


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