AN ICONIC museum in Thornbury is under threat of closure.

Volunteers at the Thornbury and District Museum, which was founded in 1986, say the museum's future is precarious after the pandemic and two years of 'uncertainty' including the closure of the Armstrong Hall.

The museum's tenancy agreement with the Armstrong Hall Trust is set to expire next year and volunteers say this could mean the museum would be left without a home, endangering its entire collection.

They say the overriding problem to the charity is the cost of renting elsewhere.

The museum, which is free to enter, relies solely on voluntary contributions and grant funding from the local council.

The popular museum has maintained regularly changing exhibitions, permanent key displays, talks and guided walks for public enjoyment and education as well as outreach support for local schools and groups.

A spokesperson for the museum said: If the museum is forced to close, the entire heritage record of Thornbury and the surrounding area could no longer be available to the community.

"An important local collection of artefacts, documents and photographs would be lost to the local area, possibly relocated to more distant museums or even dispersed to any home which would take them. 

"We have worked hard to achieve and maintain accredited museum status, awarded by Arts Council England for reaching a high nationally recognised standard.

This is due for reappraisal and renewal at the end of 2023, close to the date when our lease could expire.

"Without a viable plan to continue a sustainable museum service in suitable premises, further accreditation will be unattainable.

"It could mean the end of Thornbury and District Museum after more than 35 years."

Volunteers are asking the public to show their support for the museum in a bid to save it.

The spokesperson added: "We are making the details of our predicament public and we appeal to local residents, businesses and organisations to show their support for the museum and help save it. 

"Please talk to your friends, put your support in writing, contact your local Thornbury Town and South Glos councillors, and most importantly, let us know your thoughts."