CAMPAIGNERS marked the second anniversary of the closure of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery as the search for suitable new accommodation continues.
Apsley House had housed the paintings and exhibits since the 1930s, but its closure at the start of the first lockdown on March 18, 2020 quickly became permanent.
Swindon City Council has decided to sell Apsley House and instead plans to include a new museum and gallery in the cultural quarter they hope to build in the town centre.
In the meantime, some rooms on the first floor of the Euclid Street Municipal Offices will be modified to house some of the art and museum collections.
But there are fears that this short-term solution could become permanent if the process of planning and building the new cultural district takes longer than expected or is never completed.
Spokeswoman for Friends of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Linda Kasmaty, said: ‘We had little opportunity to view the art and ceramic collections, and no opportunity to view the collections. museum and archeology for two years.
“We fully accept that the internal layout of Apsley House was not ideal in terms of accessibility, but it is very clear that any future home for the museum and art gallery collections will not be a solution. temporary.
“Experienced professionals in the real estate and development sectors tell us that the Cultural Quarter will take decades to fund and build, which means that the municipal offices will in fact be a permanent site for the collections.
“Creating new exhibition spaces for important historical artefacts, local archaeological finds and our nationally renowned British art collection is expensive if done correctly, but it must be done correctly to protect the collections and make positive experience for visitors and researchers.
“We just want to sit down with the council and understand how they are proposing to provide new fully accessible exhibition space within their budget which started at £1.8m in 2019 but has since dropped to 400,000 pound sterling.
“We really don’t understand how this can be the case. We are very keen to fulfill our role as local champions for Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, and hope that our sweet celebration of the second anniversary of its closure will encourage the Swindon City Council. Share this reflection with us and the people of Swindon.
The Friends of SMAG group was launched in 1993 to help develop, maintain and improve the best possible museum and art gallery for the citizens and visitors of Swindon.
Since then, he has acted as a local champion, providing feedback to management and ensuring formal community participation in council decision-making regarding the museum and art gallery.