Our treasures must be seen to be fully appreciated

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Works of art can enrich our lives and are a vital tool for telling us about life through the ages.

It’s for that reason that we should be proud of the treasures collected and cared for by all our local councils.

By preserving paintings, sculptures, artefacts, silverware and other items, they ensure that our history doesn’t get lost forever.

When you look at the staggering amount of artwork currently being held, it is incredible to think about how many items of value we actually own.

Portsmouth’s public collection of art alone is worth up to £30m and some of our councils have continued to spend money on buying new pieces in the past 12 months.

It would be impossible for all that we own to be on permanent show, as there simply isn’t enough wall space.

We’re sure that a lot of good work goes on to ensure that displays are changed frequently. But it is worth asking whether more could be done to rotate exhibitions.

It’s crucial that we make the most of what we own, or what’s the point in collecting it all in the first place?

As long as the right security measures are in place, we see no reason why some of these items can’t be displayed in more public buildings or even private workplaces.

If we have simply got too much in storage, it might be better for some items to be put up for sale to release money that could ultimately be better spent elsewhere on services that will benefit people.

Let’s not forget that times are tough at the moment and our councils will be feeling that too.

Spending cuts are already taking a toll on some of the services provided, including many of our libraries.

There is merit in making sure that items of particular significance are protected.

No-one is saying that all the family jewels need to be auctioned off or the silver sold to pay for supper.

But it is crucial that our treasure troves aren’t allowed to just gather dust where they are neither use nor ornament to anyone.