arts / Film / Movietime / Politics / Save the National Media Museum

Save the Media Museum – fight the cuts

MovietimeSpecialSaveTheNationalMediaMuseumAccording to the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, a “Five-year masterplan to breathe new life into flagship attraction is placed in jeopardy” by the Chancellor’s autumn spending review.

I have made the following comment in a letter to the T&A:

The Tory Chancellor is imposing cuts of nearly £4.5 million over the next two years in the budget of the Science Museum Group (SMG), of which Bradford’s National Media Museum is a part.  Opposition is growing to the Government’s “all in it together” austerity cuts, which do not affect the bankers and other fat cats, or indeed MPs’ own salaries, but we cannot wait until the next election before campaigning for the survival of our Museum.

Clearly these cuts mean that the ambitious £5m restructuring .plans which the Museum’s director, Jo Quinton-Tulloch, outlined to meetings of supporters earlier this autumn are no longer feasible, at least in the short term. But they should not be abandoned, and should be publicised as widely as possible.

Nor does that mean nothing can be done to save it from the immediate effects of the Osborne axe. Clearly the 40,000 signatories to the T&A petition provide the basis for a targeted campaign to attract greater attendances, and hence more short-term revenue.

Each of us should become an unpaid activist for the Museum’s survival, distributing flyers in organisations and meeting places – not forgetting the packed senior citizen Thursday morning shows – tweeting and Facebooking events at the Museum, and putting a regular pound coin or two in the foyer contribution boxes.

Such grassroots activities need to be backed by a shakeup in the Museum’s marketing and publicity. Speaking as someone who has curated shows at the Museum, and as a commentator on film in the national and local media, I can testify that such a shake-up is long overdue.

Ms Quinton-Tulloch should immediately call mass meetings of supporters, which should be held, not in the rarified hard-to-access top floor with room for a few dozen enthusiasts, but in one of the cinemas. The aim should be to pack the Pictureville with people howling with rage at this attack on this City of Film’s main attraction.

The Friends of the Museum should become a thinktank for building the campaign and also providing the management with feedback on where to go, and where things are going.

Presenter, BCB’s Movietime show

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