Museum bosses have identified a potential opportunity to secure a major collection of 300 swords which are of ‘national significance’ and features Lord Nelson’s personal fighting sword.
They are exploring various external funding opportunities to meet the costs of acquiring the collection, however, the options will take many months to progress, and delays could also come due to Covid-19, according to council reports.
Therefore a request has been made by the museum that, as a fall back, the council releases some of the existing funding as a loan to purchase the swords collection, which will be repaid in the future.
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A report from Denise McGuckin council managing director, which will go before councillors on the finance and policy committee on Monday, recommends the funding is released.
In her report, she said: “The NMRN has identified a potential opportunity to secure a major collection of swords which are of national significance and are currently in the ownership of a private individual who wishes to sell this collection.
“Securing this collection would provide a major national visitor attraction for the expanded NMRN exhibition space.
“The collection of 300 swords is world class and is the finest collection of naval edged weapons ever assembled and includes Lord Nelson’s personal fighting sword which he always carried into battle.
“In view of the uncertainty regarding potential external funding streams the NMRN has requested that as a fall back the council releases some of the existing funding to purchase the swords collection.”
The loan agreement with the museum would specify details of the repayment, which could come from securing external grant funding, securing exhibition tax credit income, be repaid from other museum sources, or a combination of factors.
It comes after funding was allocated for new exhibition space at the museum to enhance its visitor offer as part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s capital investment strategy, which earmarked resources for Waterfront projects.
The council’s plans for investment around the Waterfront, such as at the museum, is funded from a combination of external grant funding, including from Tees Valley Combined Authority, and prudential borrowing.
A decision will be made on whether to release the funding by the finance and policy committee on Monday, March 15.
The meeting will be streamed live via the ‘Hartlepool Council meeting videos’ YouTube channel from 10am.