9th October

Museum and Art Gallery Latest
This post is by way of giving a round-up of recent occurrences in the Swindon museum and art gallery situation.

Museum and Art Gallery Latest - the swindon gharial

The South Swindon Parish Council Proposal

South Swindon Parish Council passed a resolution at the recent Full Council meeting. The resolution allowed the Parish Chair to begin discussions with SBC about a short-term transfer of SMAG to the Parish Council.

The proposed transfer of the facility could see the Parish Council amalgamate the Old Town Library provision into Apsley House. A move that would add value to the final proposition. The option would give the Borough Council breathing space. Space to progress their aspirations to provide a purpose built Museum and Art Gallery as part of the cultural quarter offering. That’s currently expected in 2030.

We understand that SBC is now considering moving SMAG to the first floor of the Civic Building on Euclid Street. This would be a temporary move.

Note there are no costings for this proposal nor has it been the subject of a feasibility study.

Cllr Chris Watts, Chair of South Swindon Parish Council says, ‘I’ve requested an initial meeting with the lead member and officers of SBC. We want to kickstart discussions on a proposal that could see the Museum and Art Gallery remain at Apsley House.

The Parish understands that Apsley House is not the ideal facility to house the town’s Museum and Art Gallery. But there’s no viable near-term alternative. And it’s vital a town the size of Swindon has this facility open and accessible to the public. We’re pleased to have the support of the Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery and the Old Town Business Association.’

Background information

The Museum and Art Gallery first closed at the start of the pandemic. In June 2021, Swindon Borough Council informed Councillors and the Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery their intention to not reopen Apsley House. And further to place the collection into storage until completion of a new facility in the proposed Cultural Quarter in 2030. The Borough Council also informed stakeholders that they intend to put Apsley House up for sale.

Friends of SMAG blogspot

www.friendsofsmag.blogspot.com has information about the campaign, including photos so do check there. There’s loads more information there.

Also, find more related posts on this blog here.

How you can help

  • We would like to keep up the pressure by asking questions at upcoming meetings, Cabinet on the 13th October 6pm and Scrutiny on the 18th October 6pm but we need more new faces to ask the questions. If you’d like to get involved email: admin@friendsofsmag.org

  • If you see any ‘Art on Tour’ or ‘Museum without Walls’ events around Swindon then please let us know about them and take photographs if possible. It’s vital we keep track of the paintings and artefacts and the way they’re being displayed and treated. We also need to check whether people are actually seeing more art than they did in Apsley House.

  • Join the ‘Save Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’ Facebook group and check for information.

  • Contact Swindon Borough Council:
    David Renard, Council Leader: drenard@swindon.gov.uk

    Robert Jandy, Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience: RJandy@swindon.gov.uk

    Local Councillors, details on the Swindon Borough Council website: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20021/councillors_democracy_and_elections
    Or write: c/o Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH

  • Contact your Members of Parliament
    Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon: robert.buckland.mp@parliament.uk 
    Justin Tomlinson MP for North Swindon: justin.tomlinson.mp@parliament.uk 

    Or writeHouse of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

  • Join the SOMAG mailing list, email: admin@friendsofsmag.org or phone: 07765 050470 

Group of SOMAG supporters outside swindon museum and art gallery
Photo by Stuart Harrison

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