Museums

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Sir,

The continual barrage of attack on Motor Museums makes me wonder if the critics are correct in their assumption that because a car is in a Museum it is not used and it is the fault of the Museum.

Many exhibits in Museums are privately owned and cannot be used by the Museums, so do not criticise the Museums for this fact. The owner is happy he receives free, warm, garaging, probably free insurance cover, and the car is well looked after. The public are given the opportunity of viewing an exhibit which if not loaned to the Museum would probably have been pushed to the back of a garage somewhere. Really the only substance for criticism is in connection with those cars which are owned by or donated to Museums and are not used for varying reasons. If these cars were sold do you honestly think you would see more of them? Of course you wouldn’t, they would go into private collections, not only not used but also unseen by the public.

In many cases the critics are being unfair, perhaps they should devote their time to the private collectors. Incidentally, there is a members’ list for the VSCC which places an asterisk beside those members who own more than one car, now these people have been enthusiastic enough to join the Club and perhaps they use one of their cars, but what about the others in their garages? Presumably noone would criticise them. I wonder how many Museums there are in England where none of the cars owned by the Museum are ever used? We used ten of our own cars last year and whilst this may please W.B. Chris Lansdell (both critics in the February issue of MOTOR SPORT) and many other static critics including ourselves, it did not please everyone. There are many voluble anti-users who feel that it is very wrong to race or even to use these cars, and apparently a notice in place of a Fraser-Nash reading “Sorry, gone shopping” gave rise to some most interesting language.

Bearing in mind that you would never lose the private hoarder and cottonwool smotherer of the motor car, I think that Motor Museums are doing more good than bad. By all means let us keep as many of these cars on the road as possible both for the enjoyment of the user and the beholder. Driving through the Devon lanes the other day in my vintage Alfa Romeo a cow sat on its wing, no doubt a critic of the vintage era, as my MG-B would have come through unharmed; and so you critics, remember, there is another side to the coin.

Trisha Pilkington.

Totnes Motor Museum.