Three Lancaster museums to return to city council control

Management contract with Lancashire County Council to end next September
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
Councillors at Lancaster City Council have voted to end a management agreement for Lancashire County Council to run its three museums.

Lancashire County Council receives about £520,000 a year to run Lancaster City Museum, the Lancaster Maritime Museum and the Cottage Museum.

This arrangement has been in place since 2003. But at a council meeting on 27 September it was agreed that the museums would be brought back under city council management from 1 October 2018.

A report regarding the future of the current museums services partnership agreement was considered by councillors ahead of the vote, but this report has not been made available to the public.

“Arts and culture are prominent figures in the Lancaster district and it is essential that we continue to build and expand on the opportunities they offer as major drivers of the local economy,” said a statement by Darren Clifford, the city council cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism.

“The museums are a key part of this and by exploiting their potential we have the opportunity to set this district apart from other towns and cities as an exceptional place to live, work, visit and do business.

“By bringing the museums back in-house we will be able to ensure that they play an enhanced role in both the cultural life of the city and the economy of the entire district.”

The council said that provisions would be made to ensure the smooth transfer of staff and resources, with additional budget made available if need.

Earlier this year, Lancaster City Council said it was considering options for a complete redesign of its museums, including a “radical revamp of the City Museum as the central hub of a new and reinvigorated museums service that can provide an enhanced cultural, retail and catering offer and much improved public access alongside frequently refreshed collections and exhibitions”.

Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council has ratified the closures of the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Fleetwood Museum, the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster and the Queen Street Mill in Burnley.


Minutes from Lancastor City Council meeting 27 September

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