The policy column

Heledd Fychan, Issue 116/10, p17, 01.10.2016
Urgent action needed in Wales
Devolution has been largely positive for the sector in Wales. Successive Welsh governments have worked closely with local museums and Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) since 1999 to ensure that the sector was empowered to support the delivery of key government objectives, such as tackling poverty and cultural tourism. As a result, Wales was the first UK nation to publish a museums strategy, and to conduct an expert review of local museum provision when cuts began to hit.

Despite the goodwill, it seems that more pressing matters, such as the impact of Brexit on Wales, have led to little action being taken to address the needs of the sector at this point in time. With no dedicated culture or heritage minister since the May election (museums are now in the economy and infrastructure department), it is only natural that the sector feels nervous.

Much hope is being placed on the museums strategy that will be published in the coming months.

However, what remains clear is that museums cannot continue to fulfil their potential in terms of economic and socio-economic impact if further cuts are implemented. Many museums are concerned that they may not be around to support the delivery of the next strategy, unless urgent action is taken.

Advocacy is crucial, and the Museums Taskforce set up by the Museums Association will play a key role in making the case to UK nations’ respective governments. 

Heledd Fychan is the corporate affairs and advocacy manager for Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) and a Museums Association board member