The purpose of the Expert Review of Local Museum Provision in Wales 2015 report by the Welsh Government was to review the proposed changes by local authorities to local museum provision from April 2014 and identify opportunities for collaboration, partnership and innovation.

In October 2014, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates who appointed an expert panel, chaired by Dr Haydn E Edwards, Vice President of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The Panel comprised Adrian Babbidge of Egeria Consultancy, Professor Gaynor Kavanagh, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and Peter Gomer, Policy Officer, Welsh Local Government Association.

Museums Wales
Above Image: children at the National Pit Museum. Main Image: a visitor interacts at the National Waterfront Museum

Between November 2014 and May 2015 the panel met 10 times, during which it interviewed 20 representatives from 10 different bodies.

“Although our focus was on local authority museums, we also considered a representative sample of independent local museums and looked at the role of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales,” the report states. “As part of the consultation, we hosted two regional meetings, in Llandudno Junction and Merthyr Tydfil, which were attended by a total of 61 delegates. We received 29 written submissions. In addition, we considered evidence provided in 2014 by 21 local authorities.”

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism will make a formal response to the review recommendations later in the autumn.

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The 10 Recommendations

Welsh Government, in partnership with Welsh Local Government Association, to create three Regional Bodies to provide operational direction, management and support to locally delivered museums.

The Welsh Government should establish a national Museums Council in order to provide collective leadership and co-ordinated activities at national level for the museum sector.

The Welsh Government should develop a Museums Charter to set expectations for public museums in Wales and the requirement to measure their progress and standards achieved.

Local authorities, when reviewing their museums services, should consider all options including retention of present operation, transfer to alternative delivery model or closure and do this in consultation with Welsh Government.

Welsh Government should put measures in place to establish Collections Wales which will rationalise, develop and safeguard collections of significance to the histories and cultures of Wales.

Welsh Government, local authorities, other governing bodies and sector bodies to collaborate to identify and provide the skills development needed to support the workforce during the transition and beyond, in order for it to be able to fully achieve the requirements of the Museums Charter.

Welsh Government should establish a transformation fund in order to facilitate the major changes required in the museum sector in Wales.

The Welsh Government should review, in partnership with museum governing bodies, the policy and practice of charging for museum entry and from this to provide guidance.

The Welsh Government should ensure that museums directly provided by local authorities should be given relief from National Non-Domestic Rates on the same basis as museums that are operated by charities.

Welsh Ministers should be formally responsible for supporting and developing all public museums in Wales.