Museum set for move across city

Wakefield museum, Wood St, Wakefield city centre.'w5342d121
Wakefield museum, Wood St, Wakefield city centre.'w5342d121
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WAKEFIELD museum could be closed and its collections moved in to the city’s new library if plans are approved next week.

A report prepared for Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee, which will meet on Tuesday, said the move would save money and help get more visitors through the door.

It said visitor numbers had dropped from 30,000 per year in 2001, to 20,000 in 2010, and that more than £500,000 would need to be spent on the existing museum to make it fit for purpose.

The report said the council did not have a statutory duty to provide museum services, but acknowledged they had an important role to play

It added: “The museum requires significant investment to stop its long-term decline or stagnation that is likely to result in a poorer service being delivered, and see an increase in public dissatisfaction with museum provision.

“The Westgate development provides an opportunity to radically re-position city centre museum provision by introducing a fully integrated museum experience within the new library.

“This opportunity would enhance the customer experience and greatly increase access to the collections through greater footfall with the Westgate building estimated to have a footfall of 200,000 per year.”

The existing Grade II listed building could be leased to Wakefield College as a performing arts venue and the report said the museum would close in autumn to facilitate the relocation.

It added: “The £35,000 revenue savings from the temporary suspension of Wakefield Museum would be used to fund the £30,000 revenue costs associated with the move to Westgate.”

The report said it was anticipated there would be a reduction in staff through the merger.