Public offered questionnaire amid plans to close Walsall Museum in council budget cuts

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 January 2014

As Walsall Museum announces a new show, Gaslight Gothic, its future could be decided by an online survey

A photo of the outside of a modern museum and library with flowers in the foreground
© Wallsall Council
A public questionnaire on the mooted demise of the central museum in Walsall, where councillors are proposing to close a site which has been open since 1976, is asking for suggestions on how the estimated £70,000 savings might otherwise be saved.

Respondents will be able to give their views on the value of Walsall Museum, with the popular venue expected to close as part of a bid to make a £100 million budget cut by the 2017/18 financial year.

A consultation held last year concluded that there was “overall support” for the idea, although it recorded some confusion between the museum and the local New Art Gallery. A number of residents also suggested a merger between the gallery and the museum.

The survey implies that the building's collections – it specialises in 20th century costume and clothing – would be moved to another space in the event of the museum closing, addressing an issue identified by many as a concern.

A spokesperson for the Heritage Lottery Fund, which funds the permanent The Changing Face of Walsall exhibition under a £50,000 agreement made in 2008, called the news “disappointing”, adding that the group remained in “regular contact” with Walsall Council.

The museum hosts revolving exhibitions and a lively programme of family events and activities. Its next show, Gaslight Gothic, will reveal some of curators’ stranger acquisitions, finds or bequests, including capes, tombstone stencils, taxidermy specimens, “brutal” implements and a mysterious snuff box.

Visitors will be able to dress in steampunk costumes and have their photos taken in a studio, or follow a trail to make gothic links of their own, marked out by a ‘G’ symbol aimed at inspiring a spirit of curiosity.

  • Visit the questionnaire homepage by January 24 to take part in the questionnaire. Gaslight Gothic runs from January 21 – March 29 2014. Admission free.

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