The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Please help save the William Morris Gallery

Received this in my inbox this evening:

Please help save The William Morris Gallery by signing our online petition:
www.petitiononline.com/savewmg

The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London, is the world's 's only museum specifically devoted to the Life, Work and Influence of William Morris. Housed in the beautiful 18th century family home of William Morris (who was born in Walthamstow in 1834), the internationally renowned collection includes:

• Decorative art by William Morris is and his circle and by his followers in the Arts & Crafts Movement
• Pictures and sculpture donated by Sir Frank Brangwyn, R.A .A.
• An archive of manuscripts and other material relating to Morris, his family and associates

In order to save £56,000 the local Council (Waltham Forest) has dramatically cut the opening hours to weekends and 2 afternoons per week. It is proposed the exhibits will be taken to schools, rather than schools visiting the Museum. The curator and prominent historian has lost his job, and is to be replaced by library staff as well as many other gallery staff. The cuts will lead to a dramatic decline in visitor numbers, services and will no doubt lead to the eventual closure.

The cuts effect the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum.

The local Council do not appreciate the asset they have on their doorstep.

Please help us reverse this decision by signing the online petition and by visiting the website www.keepourmuseumsopen.org.uk where you’ll find more information and the addresses of people to write to.

4 comments:

Ceri said...

I wonder if it is not more that the Council do not appreciate the asset they have but rather in times when budgets must be cut, the obvious place to make cuts is unfortunately those services which are far down the 'hierarchy of needs'? Museums and cultural activities are still very much viewed as luxuries in relation to other council services such as housing, refuse collections, libraries etc. I did sign the petition however because whilst we are trying to increase access to museums on the one hand it seems Councils etc are doing their best to reduce access except to anyone but the very committed. And by treating museums etc as 'luxuries' I think we pepetuate the perception that they are only for certain types of people, not for everyone.

Amy said...

I think you're right Ceri. And I guess there is probably an element on the Council who regard museums and galleries as elitist institutions regardless and - therefore - can not appreciate their full potential/value to the local and wider community. Ironic really, when you consider Morris' political point of view.

Ceri said...

Yes I also thought it ironic considering William Morris' beliefs! He was an interesting man and I am keen to find out more about him as a socialist rather than the maker of pretty fabrics and furniture.

Derek Wall said...

As Principal Male Speaker of the Green Party I recognise the enormous debt that Greens have to William Morris, a great thinker and artist who for environmental and social justice, it is vitally important to save this resource