Five-year masterplan to breathe new life into flagship attraction is placed in jeopardy

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Further cuts blow to Bradford's National Media Museum Further cuts blow to Bradford's National Media Museum

Plans to secure the future of Bradford’s National Media Museum by making it a world class visitor attraction have been dealt a blow by the shock announcement of further Government funding cuts.

A five-year masterplan, created by museum director Jo Quinton-Tulloch to breathe new life into the flagship site, was accepted by trustees of the Science Museum Group (SMG) this week. But Thursday’s Autumn Statement saw the Government making a further, unexpected cut to its budget, which means the group now needs to find a further £787,000 in savings over the next two years. The SMG already has to find £3.7m savings by the end of 2015-16 after the summer’s Spending Review and bosses claim the “real terms” funding cut it has received since 2010 now stands at more than 30 per cent. Miss Quinton-Tulloch claimed the announcement was a “blow” to her proposal to revamp the museum – with plans to create two new permanent galleries, a temporary exhibition space, an overhaul of the lobby and entrances and joining forces with a commercial cinema partner. She added the museum would have to look for new funding streams, as well as reduce its operational costs.

“I believe we have a compelling vision, but I also want to be candid.

“These ambitions can only be realised if our partners are able to support us with significant investment, so Thursday’s Autumn Statement, which worsened our financial predicament, was a blow. We need to work with our partners to find a sustainable long-term model – with new sources of investment as well as reduced operating costs.”

The need to significantly restructure the museum was highlighted after it was saved from the threat of closure in the summer following the T&A’s Stop the Cut campaign, which was supported by film industry celebrities, including Martin Scorsese and Michael Palin, and backed by a petition which attracted 45,000 signatures. The plan involves making the museum more attractive to visitors, as well as developing partnerships with commercial organisations, Bradford College, Bradford University and Bradford Council.

Since the summer, the museum has consulted with staff, stakeholders and residents across the city to form its plan, which it says will focus the museum’s offering on the science, technology and art of the still and moving image, and its impact on people’s lives.

Bosses say the proposal, if fully funded, would give the museum a new “clarity of purpose” and align it with Bradford's ambitions for its schools and cultural quarter.

Miss Quinton-Tulloch said the museum would now continue to speak to staff, the public and stakeholders, liaise with Government departments and Bradford Council and carry out “costing and feasibility” studies for its new gallery spaces.

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