Wandsworth Museum plans merger with arts venue

Council could approve Battersea Arts Centre partnership next month
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Simon Stephens
Wandsworth Museum in south London has revealed plans to merge with Battersea Arts Centre.

In March, Wandsworth Museum's three staff members will move to the centre, which is in the final stages of a £13.3m redevelopment. The aim is for the two organisations to merge fully in spring 2016.

Sue Walker, the director of Wandsworth Museum, said the move to Battersea Arts Centre would secure the museum’s long-term future.

“In partnership, we can reach more people than we could do separately, and engage them in our historical collections in unexpected and imaginative ways,” Walker said. “We hope that the new collaborative model will be able to proceed and inspire other arts and heritage institutions across the country.”

The proposed partnership needs to be approved by Wandsworth Council, which owns the museum’s collection. Councillors will meet to discuss the plan in February.

More than 100,000 people attended events at Battersea Arts Centre in 2013. Following the capital project and the merger with Wandsworth Museum, the arts centre hopes to increase this to 200,000 by 2018.

Wandsworth Museum was run by Wandsworth Council, which decided to close the museum in 2008. It reopened in May 2010 as a trust following support from philanthropist Michael Hintze. The museum closed again in June last year to develop its plans to move to a new site.

Under the new arrangement, the 11,000-strong collection will remain at the museum's former site in West Hill in Wandsworth.

The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation has given £3.18m to support the museum, with £295,000 of this going to Battersea Arts Centre.

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