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No plans to close Swansea Museum, says council

Swansea Council has reassured residents that there are no plans to close Swansea Museum.

Swansea Museum

As part of a review into its cultural services as a whole, the council is looking to retain and secure external investment in the historic museum building on Victoria Road.

Due to unprecedented budgetary challenges, the council is exploring making the short-term museum service savings required by reviewing the operation of the museum's tramshed building and the historic vessels in the museum's ownership.

The council is also reviewing the configuration of the museum's collections store in Landore. This could lead to investment and the securing of expertise for conservation and top quality storage as part of the on-going regeneration of the historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "There's a lot of misinformation about Swansea Museum doing the rounds at the moment, so we want to set the record straight. Despite the considerable financial challenges we're facing, we are not looking to close the museum building on Victoria Road. This building is part of Swansea's heritage and we want to preserve a thriving museum service there for many years to come.

"To make the short-term savings that are needed, we're instead reviewing the museum tramshed and the future operation of the historic vessels in the museum's ownership. The tramshed, despite being in a good location, has a limited visitor experience and is wholly reliant on volunteers, while still costing the council money. The museum's historic vessels are also too resource heavy, which is why their contribution to the museum service as a whole is being looked at.

"Budget cuts don't necessarily mean core service or staff cuts. To assume this is wrong."

The council is also exploring different ways of running its cultural services as a whole in the longer term, including the museum service.

Cllr Francis-Davies said: "Like many other councils, we recently carried out an exercise to test interest from local and national organisations in running some of our cultural services as we look to sustain them in the face of major budget cuts that aren't of our making. The next step is to formally invite external organisations to demonstrate whether they have the experience, financial stability and know-how to provide excellent services for our communities in an affordable way.

"This will be a long process developed over the next couple of years, so we'll assess whether this option is better for residents than a transformed in-house service. We'll continue to liaise with our partners and stakeholders to explore ways of achieving a viable, sustainable museum service in the face of the major financial challenges we're facing.

"Our commitment to the museum service has been proven over many years of investment and improvement, but we are now at a point where we need to genuinely review some aspects of the service."

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