Worries for museum’s future still loom large
IT was great to see Helmshore Textile Museum re-open at the weekend.
It should never have closed in the first place.
The success or not of the limited hours opening will play a big part in determining the future of the museum, and to that end it’s really important as many local people as possible make the effort to use the museum, and attend the events they hold throughout the year.
The decision to lay on a bus from the East Lancashire Railway’s war weekend for people to come and see the museum was a great idea, and such initiatives will be needed on a regular basis if the museum is to survive the ongoing funding cuts being passed from central government to Lancashire County Council in the future.
Coun Peter Buckley, LCC’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “I was delighted to be able to reopen Helmshore Mills Textile Museum at the weekend. It is a really fantastic place and I would encourage people of all ages to visit and find out more about Lancashire’s industrial heritage.”
He’s right, of course. But the challenge - and this is a big one - is the long-term solution for the museum. It is our heritage we are talking about, and realistically it seems unlikely LCC will be able to support it in the long-term.
A lot of effort was expended fighting the Labour county council’s decision to close the museum, only for it to be re-opened once the Tories took control. That’s a great message - but an even better message would be to talk about the steps being taken to secure the museum’s long-term future, something hopefully politicians of both political colours can rally together to deliver.
●● Sue Ashworth at the newly re-opened Helmshore Mills Textile Museum