Northampton Borough Council is asking the public to help decide how the proceeds of the sale of an Egyptian statue from the Museum and Art Gallery’s collection should be spent.
The statue of Sekhemka has been in the museum’s collection for more than 150 years and has been given an estimated sale value of £2 million by experts.
The statue is to be sold and the proceeds reinvested into other key heritage and museum projects and now a consultation is taking place to let people have their say on which projects are most important to them.
The statue will not be sold for less than £2 million and it could fetch more than that in open sale.
All the proceeds will be ploughed back into Northampton’s heritage and history. This could be into Abington Park and Museum or into building an extension onto Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and upgrading the collections - as well as into Delapre Abbey, where an on-going programme of work is intended to bring more of the building back into public use and safeguard it for the future.
The consultation will ask people if they would invest ‘a lot’, ‘some’ or ‘none’ of the proceeds from the sale into these projects and to encourage them to suggest other cultural schemes that should be prioritised. It can be found at http://www.northampton.gov.uk/sekhemka
Cllr Brandon Eldred, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Northampton Borough Council, said: “The statue of Sekhemka is a valuable asset and we do appreciate its significance as an artefact but we have decided to sell it and reinvest the money back into developing Northampton Museum and other parts of our cultural heritage.
“Every penny raised will go into projects that help to tell the story of our town’s history. We care strongly about Northampton’s culture and we believe this is the right way to enable us to invest more in bringing the very best of our heritage to a wider audience.”
The Borough Council sought advice from the Arts Council and other professional bodies when considering the sale and national guidance was followed when putting the proposal together.