It’s not often that I ask you, dear readers of this blog, to sign a petition. But please can you take a few seconds of your time to sign a petition to Save the National Media Museum in Bradford.
The museum, along with the National Railway Museum in York, and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, are threatened with closure. Their parent company, Science Museum Group, cannot afford to run all three in addition to the Science Museum in London, due to cuts in funding from central government. It is therefore said that one of these will have to go.
I really, really hope that none of them close. As a child, I loved going to visit them and have also been recently as an adult, and enjoyed them all. Putting the museums against each other in a fight for survival is therefore not helpful.
But, I’m particularly keen for the National Media Museum to stay open. It’s the one big visitor attraction in Bradford city centre, with a strong reputation. Closing it would be an absolute disaster for a city which has fallen on hard times over recent years. Racial tension fuelled riots in the summer of 2001. In 2003, demolition work started on a new shopping centre, to be built by Westfield, but ten years on and there’s just a big hole in the ground. Meanwhile the recession has caused many of Bradford’s other shops to close, leaving even bigger gaps in the city centre.
Last year’s opening of the City Park, with its excellent mirror pool and fountains (a magnet for kids on hot sunny afternoons), was a big step in the right direction and shows that the city does have positive momentum. And, hopefully, work will start on our long-awaited shopping centre this year. But all the good work could be undone if the National Media Museum closes. Because people will stop coming to Bradford, and then more local shops and business will go under. It’s a horrible thing to even contemplate.
So please, sign the petition. And if you’re free tomorrow (Saturday), why not visit the museum? There’ll be a mass ‘visit’ of the museum at around 12pm. It’s free to get in, and it’ll show the powers that be that this museum is important, not just to Bradford but for the country as a whole. It is, after all, part of our national collection.