Don't Let Museums Become History

Article excerpt

Byline: By William Green

Ministers must continue to fund the region's museums and archives or risk "eroding" the benefits of improved services, a top official has warned.

Alec Coles, director of Tyne and Wear Museums, spoke out as treasures from the North were displayed at the House of Commons to highlight the importance of culture in the region and reinforce the need for continued funding.

William Irving's 1903 painting of The Blaydon Races and a clock frozen in time by the First World War shelling of Hartlepool were amongst the items displayed at the reception organised by Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA). The North-East receives pounds 3.66m of funding a year which has enabled big improvements to be made in the care and access of treasures as well as educational programmes.

Mr Coles said the Parliamentary reception, which attracted many MPs as well as top Treasury and culture ministers, was to ensure the need for continued funding was heard "loud and clear" before the Government's comprehensive spending review. …