The formal search is set to get underway to find a long-term investment partner to secure and extend Dinosaur Isle at Sandown.
The move is designed to find vital extra funding and expertise to develop and expand the museum – while retaining accredited status and protecting its internationally-renowned collection.
The Isle of Wight Council also hopes new investment will act as a catalyst to revitalise the wider seafront area.
“The move to find a partner will be an exciting step for Dinosaur Isle Museum, protecting its future, developing the facility long-term, and with the potential to help towards further regeneration of Culver Parade and the Bay area,” said Cabinet member for resources, Councillor Stuart Hutchinson.
A delegated decision recommendation by Councillor Hutchinson and Cabinet member for heritage, Councillor John Hobart, to begin the procurement process for an investment partner, was published today (Friday).
“We want to bring the museum right up to date, with new, exciting displays and the chance to expand and prosper,” said Councillor Hutchinson.
“An investment partner will help us to do this and hopefully do much more for Sandown. Dinosaur Isle is 18 years old now and faces increasing maintenance and upgrade costs.”
Councillor Hobart said: “Dinosaur Isle Museum is a centre of excellence for palaeontology of which we are extremely proud. It has an internationally-recognised collection, dedicated and respected staff who are supported by a much-valued friends’ group, and an important and wide-ranging educational role. We are determined to help it grow into the future.”
The process for finding an investment partner will include a ‘negotiation’ approach to help maximise all opportunities – and there will be more feasibility work on using council land next to the museum.
“There is no doubt that delivering a long-term sustainable future for Dinosaur Isle is likely to need major capital investment and another party to help achieve this. At the heart of this is ensuring its future is preserved and that it can extend and develop along with the surrounding area,” added Councillor Hutchinson.