Lancaster museums play key economic and cultural role

Lancaster Maritime Museum. STOCK PIC.
Lancaster Maritime Museum. STOCK PIC.

Three Lancaster museums are to be taken back in-house by the city council.

Currently, Lancashire County Council run Lancaster City Museum, The Maritime Museum, and the Cottage Museum on behalf of Lancaster City Council at a cost of around £520,000 a year.

But councillors have now agreed to issue notice to end the management agreement by September next year.

Coun Darren Clifford said that bringing the museums back in-house would ensure they play an enhanced role in the cultural life and economy of the city.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Judges Lodgings Museum have submitted a formal proposal to take over the running of the musuem.

The museum in Castle Hill is currently closed to the public, but it is open to some school visits.

The friends group said it hoped to receive a decision back from Lancashire County Council, which owns the museum, by February 2018.

On Wednesday September 27, city councillors unanimously agreed to end their partnership with the county council on September 30 2018 and bring the running of the museums back in-house.

Coun Darren Clifford, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “Arts and culture figure prominently in the Lancaster district and it is essential that we continue to build and expand on the opportunities they offer as major drivers of the local economy.

“The museums are a key part of this and by exploiting their potential we have the opportunity to set this district apart from other towns and cities as an exceptional place to live, work, visit and do business.

“By bringing the museums back in-house we will be able to ensure that they play an enhanced role in both the cultural life of the city and the economy of the entire district.”

The Lancaster Guardian asked the city council whether it would save money by bringing the museums back in house, but the council said the information is currently unavailable.

Coun Clifford added: “The decision to take the museums back under city council control attracted support from across the political spectrum and was passed unanimously by council.

“Over the coming months we will all be working closely together, through the Cabinet Liaison Group and with other stakeholders, to discuss proposals for the future of the museums.”