Herts Ad joins fight for new St Albans museum

PUBLISHED: 19:04 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

The current Museum of St Albans

The current Museum of St Albans

THE campaign for a new museum for St Albans is growing in strength - and this week the Herts Advertiser adds its support to the fight. The proposal, which has been put forward by a group of local residents with experience in subjects such as architecture,

THE campaign for a new museum for St Albans is growing in strength - and this week the Herts Advertiser adds its support to the fight.

The proposal, which has been put forward by a group of local residents with experience in subjects such as architecture, archives and art history, is to open a new museum devoted to the parts of the history of St Albans which are barely represented locally at the moment.

The campaign has been launched in conjunction with consultation into St Albans council's Shaping Our Community consultation document.

Among the parties also involved in the proposal are the St Albans and Herts Architectural and Archaeological Society, known colloquially as the Arc and Arc.

President Professor Michael Cooper says the Arc and Arc believes a new museum should be a core element of the development strategy for St Albans.

Their vision is of a museum which gives a broader understanding of what life was like in the past and enriches the lives of current residents by generating an active interest in life today in a city with a long recorded history.

The Arc and Arc envisages it as a landmark building in an attractive setting, housing a museum and other cultural resources and equipped throughout with IT for performing, teaching and learning.

They would also like to see it have a raked lecture theatre and flexible meeting space as well as a public library of paper and digital records.

But they too believe that the purpose and function of a new museum should be settled before deciding where it should be built.

St Albans Labour group leader and prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour, Roma Mills, has already come out in support of the project.

She said this week: "The museum service has some excellent staff but there is no doubt they are hampered by the facilities on the current site.

"A new museum would not just give us an opportunity to celebrate the city's history but also offer some real social and economic benefits for local people."

She believes there are a number of possible sites for the project including a sensitively-designed building in the city centre and possibly the old cinema building in London Road - in an area which, she pointed out, desperately needs improvement.

Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams added: "Let us take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide a museum facility which is truly worthy of a city with St Albans' rich heritage.

"This newspaper fully supports the Arc and Arc's campaign, and we will continue to do everything we can to raise awareness of their proposal, in the hope that it eventually becomes a reality."

St Albans portfolio holder for culture and heritage, Cllr Melvyn Teare, said he welcomed the interest shown in the museum provision in the city by the campaigners.

He said that council chief executive, Daniel Goodwin, would be inviting the campaign supporters to a meeting to discuss the future of museum provision in the district to help in the preparation of a report on the subject which is going to cabinet later this year.

He also asked residents with view about museum provision and how to promote the district's full history and heritage to get in touch by September 28 which is the end of consultation on Shaping Our Community.


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