Museum closure plan makes mockery of City of Culture ambitions

Museum closure plan makes mockery of Sunderland’s City of Culture bid

Concerns have been raised over Council plans to close Monkwearmouth Station Museum while Sunderland is bidding to become 2021 City of Culture.
Sunderland Council are considering the temporary closure of the much-loved city museum. 
Ruling councillors want to close Monkwearmouth Station Museum on North Bridge Street as a temporary measure, but could decide to close the museum for good.
It comes as the city continues its bid to become UK city of culture in 2021.
The city has recently secured Heritage Lottery Funding to regenerate an area around Sunderland Minister into a ‘cultural quarter’ and to open up Hylton Castle to the public.

But Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats say that recent good news could be eclipsed by the Council’s closure of Monkwearmouth Station Museum which, it is claimed, would fly in the face of the Council’s efforts to make the city a cultural hub in the North East.
The party say Sunderland Council must protect genuine and existing cultural assets in the city in order to maintain and improve the city’s arts, culture and heritage offer to residents and visitors.

Wearside Lib Dem campaigner Niall Hodson, himself a curator and cultural historian, said:

“Going to the Station Museum is a part of what it means to grow up in Sunderland - it would be a real shame if we denied this opportunity to future generations.

“There is a terrible, but typical, irony about Sunderland Council’s actions. On the one hand they announce large-scale ‘cultural’ projects like the Keel Square redevelopment and a bid for ‘City of Culture’, and on the other hand, they seek to close our existing heritage sites.

“What Sunderland Council don’t understand is that culture is not about big-money projects, it’s about preserving our existing local cultural heritage, and keeping it alive, accessible, and relevant.

“It is a matter of unglamorous, but uncostly, responsible management in the long term, and I’m afraid they just don’t have a clue.”

Grindon grandma Sharon Boddy regularly takes grandson Jayden, 6, to the museum. She said:

“Closing the museum will be a really big loss to families who will have to travel miles to another railway museum at Shildon or York.”

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