VOLUNTEERS are being sought to operate Tenterfield museum and cafe after an 11th hour reprieve for the attractions in the School of Arts building.
The museum, housed in the National Trust owned School of Arts building, was earmarked for closure in July as part of a cost-cutting exercise by Tenterfield councillors.
But at its November meeting, councillors resolved to keep the premises open, with the help of volunteers.
"We know there is a long list of volunteers keen to be part of the running of the museum, cinema and theatre, and I encourage community members to apply to be part of the operation of these areas," Tenterfield Shire Mayor Bronwyn Petrie said.
"We intend to reopen as soon as possible."
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Council has leased the building from the National Trust since 1999, operating a museum, cinema and theatre in the premises.
The museum is a tourist magnet, housing a collection of items from across Sir Henry Parkes' political life from his time as NSW premier.
Latest movies were screened in the cinema as well as the theatre accommodating live performances of music.
But under the lease, ratepayers stumped up annual running costs of about $350,000.
Faced with a steep rate rise, councillors decided to sell off assets and close public amenities, such as the museum.
Now, however, Council is trying to keep the building open under a new managing model, using a team of volunteers.
It would allow the facility to re-open without having council staff present.
Councillors were unanimous in their support, recommending the development and appointment of a community based committee to support the voluntary provision for services, education, tourist information and other activities permitted under the lease.
They have set aside up to $50,000 from July next year as start-up costs, with rent from the library and cafe covering maintenance costs.
"Once established Council will have regular meetings with its volunteers to ensure that volunteers are more inclusive in the day-to-day management," Mayor Petrie said.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Council.
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