The Empire and Commonwealth Museum was the first and only one of its kind in the world when it opened in 2002. But being independent put a strain on paying for new exhibitions.
Although the museum was nominated for an Arts Fund Prize in 2008, essentially, museum of the year, only 500,00 thousand people visited over the course of 5 years, the same number that has passed through Bristol's newest museum, M Shed in just 9 months. As a result a move to London was seen as the logical step to allow it to remain in the public eye.
But now the building and the collection will be taken on by Bristol City Council, something Councillor Simon Cook, Cabinet member for culture says is fantastic news:
Most of the funding is coming from the Homes and Communities Agency. They're supporting plans for an enterprise zone on derelict land at Temple Meads and will provide nearly four million pounds for the council to buy the museums building.
The move has been welcomed by Julie Finch, the Director of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives:
It dates back to 1880, it's part of the Commonwealth Institute Collection and it adds a really important dimension to the city's inter-cultural history and the relationship with other countries, so it's very important that it's staying together in one place.
An audit of the collections is currently taking place but it's hoped the items will soon be on display at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
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