Letter: Football and food could increase visitor numbers

Re the article relating to the Scarborough Museums Trust having a new chairman and noticing a request for ideas for displays and exhibitions at the art gallery and the Rotunda Museum and on how to increase visitor numbers. I thought I'd throw in a few thoughts.

Friday, 26th February 2016, 10:00 am
Rotunda Museum

Here are a few ideas on displays and exhibitions for the art gallery and the Rotunda museum and regarding increasing visitor numbers.

Without knowing what the available spaces for such displays and exhibitions might be, it is difficult to go beyond initial ideas. However, a key consideration has to be regarding opening times. The closure of both sites on a Monday should perhaps be looked at - including Bank Holiday Mondays, of which there are several during a year, providing an increase of visitors to the town on most occasions. Give these people the ‘right’ lure and some of them will visit.

As for displays, I wish to put forward the following for consideration (and development).

•Firstly, inside Wood End there are many animals and birds (produced by taxidermists in the past) which could usefully be displayed, with accompanying notes. This untapped resource could also feature information on the work of taxidermists and could be added to with paintings, photographs of wildlife and the possible provision of the use of images of wildlife in clothes design and in, for example, advertising, emblem-creation.

•Secondly, it should be possible to build up an exhibition under a title such as ‘The First Resort’ providing a history of Scarborough as a tourist centre from the 17th century presented through pictures/photos, costume, memoirs, maps, artefacts and text, setting the developments in the historical context of changing patterns in British tourism over time.

•A third area which could be covered concerns food. Baking/cooking has changed greatly since the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and there is a wealth of material available on equipment, foodstuffs, recipes, methods, clothing from that period, with prints, photos and texts to back up these. There are a number of possible avenues to follow from this basic idea – an extension to domestic life in those times is one potential route which could be followed, while my first thought was to have demonstrations of baking and cooking preparation put on using ‘original’ tools and materials, with pre-prepared items available for sale.

•My final idea concerns football - with particular reference to Yorkshire soccer clubs which have played in the football league. The days when the county’s football teams were among the best in the country are in the past now, but there are pictures, photos, programmes, models, costumes and records in abundance – or there could be. This is, I believe, a treasure trove waiting to be opened up. I have written a history of the football league and had it published - I could contribute a lot to the setting up of this. Football remains a very popular sport in this country and would attract visitors I am sure.

There are my four ideas, each of which could be developed. All or any of the above could be accompanied by printed information booklets, sales of which would surely produce profit and interest.

Roger Hopkin, Newby