Three of our national museums – Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, Bradford’s National Media Museum and York’s National Railway Museum – are under threat of closure. This is because for reasons that probably make sense to someone, they’re run by something called the Science Museum Group, which also runs the Science Museum in London. Being a bit short of money, the group is wittering about closing one of the museums in the group, and obviously closing something in London wouldn’t be the done thing.
The government is planning to cut funding to the group, which will leave it struggling. All three are major attractions – I’ve been to the Manchester one on one occasion, I keep meaning to get to Bradford for the National Media Museum, and regular readers will know that the NRM is one of my favourite places anywhere.
Closing any of them would be a Bad Thing – my suspicion is that the target is the National Media Museum, which has had a fall in the number of visitors over the years, and could realistically have much of its collection moved elsewhere. My other suspicion is that this is a deliberate ploy to gain attention and funding to avoid closing anything.
Perhaps a better option would be to pay the local councils in Manchester, Bradford and York to run the museums and leave the Science Museum to sort itself out. Given the number of visitors the NRM pulls in, I’m sure the local authority would be very motivated to keep it running, and no doubt the same goes for Bradford and Manchester.