This coming Thusday Linda Waltho MP has the opportunity to raise the subject of Broadfield House Glass Museum in an Adjornment Debate. This will allow her to air her, and our, concerns to the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport about Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council's proposals to move the collections and archives to the Red House Cone site and make this world renowned museum into a Heritage Centre.
Broadly speaking this is an interpretation centre where the history of glass will be illustrated, using interactive displays, information, photographs and film to attract members of the public.
No bad thing, I hear some of you say, and I would agree - as long as it was in addition and linked to the existing, world renowned, facility of Broadfield House, to complement it and point people in its direction and not replacing it.
Personally, I would favour the Red House Cone site being dedicated to the industrial archeology of glass and its heritage, with Broadfield being dedicated to artistry and design - but of course that would cost more money, not less. On the other hand, investment into your own borough (with the appropraiate publilicity, that has been sadly lacking in the past) is highly likely to pay dividends and attract the council's tourism requirement mentioned in other council documents. One of these documents also sets a task of making day trippers into overnighters.
Obviously, the way to do this is to shrink the facilities, put them into a small geographical area and call it "The Glass Quarter" - then people can do it in an afternoon, and leave the borough with their money in pocket!!
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council seem hell bent on this outcome, and closing a major asset to the world of glass, past, present and future.
I believe that it behoves every one of us to understand the implications and raise objection to this ill-conceived idea from a parchial council. On the 3 June 09, at an open meeting where the subject of Broadfield House was given half an hour for Q&A with the public, one of the leading members of the ruling political party boasted that ".....I have closed Broadfield House on two occassions before.....". The clear implication being that HE proposed to go for the hat-trick!
PLEASE, if you have a moment, email, write, or phone your own MP. Tell him, or her, that you are in favour of keeping the collections and archives in the public domain and that the proposals of DMBC are such that not more of the collections, but less will be avialable to see.
The closing of BHGM will also have a very bad effect on the glass industry as a whole with the loss of their active support and promotion of contemporary glass, as well as the lead it has in collecting British glass of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially concentrating on glass from the Stourbridge area.
This is the only publically run dedicated glass museum in the country and is regarded as one of the top five in the world and as such should be enlarged not closed.
Thank you all for your time in reading this. Please if you can, get hold of you MP and ask them to help, and, if at all possible to attend the debate on Thursday.
Kind wishes, Nigel