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.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bletchley Park: Under Threat

A group of 'leading computer scientists' have today called for Government investment in Bletchley Park, the site of war time code-breaking.

Photo of an 'Enigma' machine on display at Bletchley Park, by Tim Gage

Read more here and here. And, if you are so inclined, you have the opportunity to sign the petition on the PM's website, and buy a piece of Bletchley history to aid the fundraising campaign.


J said...

You know, I really wonder why this is happening. Living across the pond, I always used to think of Europe, and the UK in particular, as being very proud of their heritage. Yet having lived there for some time, I found out the impoverished, fragile reality that even illustrious institutions (not to mention the small regional or local museums) face. Is there just a glut of heritage on the market? Or has the heritage agenda finally confronted the glass ceiling of middle-class upward mobility? (Up, but not so up as to actually have to do anything?) Alternatively, does it have something to do with a change in public education? Why are museums such as this (whose mandate is unquestionably important, unlike, say, The Gopher Hole Museum, not far from where I live) continuously threatened with closure?

Amy said...

I wonder if there is still a reluctance by the Labour government, and some local councils, to be seen to be spending public money on heritage and culture, still perceived, in many quarters, to be elitist and a waste of money. You just have to look at the case of the William Morris Gallery and the sale of the Lowry by Bury Council. And, Julia, I think you're right about there being a 'glut of heritage on the market'. The money that *is* available (including that raised from admission tickets/shop sales) is limited. We need more Victorian-style philanthropists in this country!

The fact that Bletchley Park is so closely associated with war is another factor, I guess. There is a tendency to avoid anything that could be seen to be glorifying war, for fear it will be perceived as 'nationalist' (to completely generalise, only the Right are comfortable with admitting their patriotism these days in the UK, and particularly England - just look at the howls of derision that met the PM's plan for a Museum of Britishness). Perhaps this is why there are moves to create a National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park; a far less problematic theme?

I wonder why it was considered to be ineligible for Heritage Lottery funding?