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Re: Should Britain stop building museums?
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tomatoman wrote:
In my experience the case for most provincial developments seems to revolve around trying to boost the local economy, often based on spurious projections of extra tourist foot-fall. Clearly, any development, whether in a new or restored setting, needs to have a credible commercial case, but I prefer the core justification to be about exposing people to long-hidden treasures or relocation of collections from an expensive London (or Edinburgh) site to an equally viable alternative in the styx.
I'm neutral on whether to build new or restore; the important thing is a valid, well thought-through plan. (The worst case edifice I know of was the Birmingham City Library, built at great expense in 1974 only to be demolished in 2013, once its £188.8M replacement was complete or perhaps the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, opened in 1983, only to be closed in 2016 because of leaking roofs. (I visited just prior to closure and was appalled to see the extent of roped-off exhibition space because of water ingress.) Now the building is being renewed (£66M), part-managed by a committee who presided over the original scheme.

Thank you for your reply and for putting some thought into it. I did not know that about Birmingham City Library.
I'm not sure if my town qualifies as the styx (some might say yes, as it is a river in Hades) or 'the sticks' - a large working town with a poor image complex - in north Wiltshire not far from Avebury. With none of the tourist or cultural value of cities like Bristol, Bath or Oxford. It is hoped a new museum/art gallery would improve the image of the town which grew from a market town on hill, to industrialised railway town (the Carriage Works building is the 'heritage' building some people would like to see utilised as a new museum) then with arrival of the M4 suffered a far too fast expansion of housing developments, a large car factory and many, various other companies. What the town sorely lacks is Culture at its centre - or even for that matter a definite centre.
There was a slightly puzzling piece in the local newspaper at the weekend that argues Swindon needs a new museum to house all the 'treasures' yet to be discovered after all the even more housing developments get under way. I shudder at the thought ...

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Posted by tjj
20th February 2018ce

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