The board of the Science Museum Group is to discuss feedback it has received on the planned move of a major photography collection from Bradford to London.
The SMG, however, has dismissed claims by campaign site 38 Degrees that the board meeting on Wednesday (2 March 2016) is a ‘crisis meeting’ about the relocation of the Royal Photographic Society collection from the National Media Museum to the V&A.
A spokesman for the SMG, which runs the Bradford museum, said: “Following the recent announcement about our ambitious plans for the National Media Museum and the transfer of some art photography objects to the V&A we have had further conversations with local MPs and other key stakeholders.
“We have agreed that it would be helpful for the Science Museum Group Board to review their feedback and some ideas around the specifics of the proposed transfer of objects between national collections. We continue to liaise closely with the V&A and will issue an update following the board meeting.”
38 Degrees made the claim that the SMG board was to hold crises talks in an email promoting its petition against the move. It intends to present the petition, which has far attracted over 27,000 signatures, to the board ahead of the meeting.
The Royal Photographic Society collection, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important and largest on the art of photography, is due to be moved to the V&A later this year, along with other ‘photography holdings’ totalling 400,000 objects.
Responding to concerns about the long-term future of the National Media Museum following the announcement of the move, in early February its director Jo Quinton-Tulloch posted ‘My message to Bradford’ on the museum’s site. She defended the move and said that the future of the museum “looks brighter than it’s been in a long time”.
“In a time of limited resources and as we refocus our mission, we can no longer do everything we once did,” she said.
“The decision to transfer the Royal Photographic Society collection – as well as some other photography holdings that can broadly be described as ‘art photography’ – came from two powerful motives.
“Firstly, the need to focus our activity and our limited resources on those areas of our collection that can best help us explore the science and technology of light and sound, and secondly to ensure that those collections that don’t directly help us to do that – like the RPS collection – find a home where they can be accessed and enjoyed by the public and researchers alike.”
The museum, which came close to closure in 2013, also announced in February that it would no longer host the annual Bradford International Film Festival. This is despite the city’s designation as UNESCO City of Film in 2009 in recognition of its rich film heritage.
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