The campaign to save the council-run Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, has been given a boost by the sculptor Anthony Gormley.
The venue is set to close in June after a service agreement between the two councils involved in its management fell through. Epping Forest Borough Council, which staffs and operates the museum on behalf of Broxbourne Borough Council, gave notice that it was pulling out of the deal last June when it learned that Broxbourne was no longer going ahead with an application for a lottery grant towards the museum’s redevelopment.
In December, Broxbourne councillors voted to close the museum entirely, saying the council no longer has the funds to run it. The decision was made in a small cabinet meeting rather a full council sitting. No consultation has been conducted with the public on the current plans.
In a letter to the council, Gormley, whose mother-in-law once exhibited her ceramics at the museum, wrote that it would be “very short-sighted” to abandon the venue due to lack of funds.
“I would urge the council to think again and appoint young and enthusiastic curators to animate and engage the public both local and from afar,” he added. “This is a passionate plea to keep Lowewood Museum alive and relevant.”
The closure plans have met resistance among the local community, with around 160 people coming to show their support for the museum on the final day of its James Ward temporary exhibition last month. Local schools have also thrown their weight behind the campaign, while a petition to save the venue has attracted more than 3,000 signatures to date.
“The council do not appear to be changing their stance on this, but we will keep fighting,” said David Dent, a member of the Friends of Lowewood Museum group.
The museum is the only cultural heritage institution in the borough and houses a collection of local archaeology, geology, costume, social history and photography.