Despite a hard-fought campaign, with the Battersea Society at its forefront, Wandsworth Council went ahead in 2007 with its decision to close Wandsworth Museum. The compromise reached was to set up an independent Museum Trust which has been working since then to open a new Museum. The Trust has recently issued a news update.
It is negotiating with Wandsworth Council for a 20 year lease on the West Hill Library site.'Negotiations have been vigorous and both sides have agreed that we will conclude for approval in January.' The Council has agreed to support the new museum with a grant to cover the lease on the building for the first five years with potential for further funding going forward. The aim is to open the Museum in June.
'The 20 year lease agreement with the Council includes an allowance for the museum to move to other premises if they prove suitable after the first 5 years. It is still hoped that the ongoing understanding between the museum and the developer, Minerva, could allow the museum to move into the historic end of the Ram Brewery site post-2015 if a favourable deal can be struck. Minerva is currently taking the RAM Brewery site through its planning inquiry and the results of this will be known later next year.'
The Council is also negotiating for the transfer of the collections into the care of the new museum. The Museum is seeking accreditation with MLA. New collection donations include the Youngs Brewery Archive. The collection will form part of a new industrial heritage archive to be housed and made available in the museum. Youngs have also offeredto fund an archivist to catalogue and transfer the collections to West Hill.
The Museum is currently creating an on-line new collections catalogue. Its Education and Outreach Team are working in schools at all four 4 Key Stages. 425 children have participated since October. The aim is 3,000 by June. Once the Museum is open it aims to work with more than 6,000 school children a year in formal learning programmes. The Museum has received funding for its education work with schools. It is working with St. Ann’s School in Wandsworth Town in developing a new education programme on the ‘Villages in Wandsworth’.
The Museum Project Offices are at 1 All Saints Passage Wandsworth, London, SW18 1EP. 020 8875 8323. The CEO is contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date posted: 18 December 2009