New Museum Planned In The Tourism Heart Of Dudley

Plans to create a new museum in Dudley are gathering pace by moving exhibitions to the heart of the town’s tourism complex.

Exhibitions at the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery building in St James’s Road will move to the Archives building at Tipton Road under the plans.

Dudley Council has unveiled the plans which will mean for the first time the museum will be a key part of the busy tourism complex at Castle Hill including Dudley Zoo and Castle, The Black Country Living Museum and the Archives which have hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

There are also plans for a very light rail innovation centre at Castle Hill which will bring in even more visitors to the area. The Archives will also provide better parking, access for people with disabilities and transport links.

The council is now in talks with the owners of many of the collections for permission to move them to the new, improved site early next year. The old building will close as part of the move, which was agreed in the budget earlier this year, as one of a number of saving measures. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member responsible for tourism, said:

“It makes absolute sense to move the exhibitions to the Archives to benefit from the existing tourism at Castle Hill. We are carrying out some work at the Archives to make sure the museum is a popular attraction that welcomes people from far and wide to enjoy the exhibitions on geology and many more. We have met with campaigners and taken the time to show them around the Archives building and explain our vision to retain the exhibitions in a first class facility. 

"These are really exciting proposals and will overcome all the issues we have had with parking and transport links at the current site, while creating something that will be as popular with school visits and people wanting to explore the steeped history of Dudley and everything that made this borough famous.”

There are around 5,000 exhibits at the museum and art gallery which receive more than 35,000 visitors a year. Speaking to Ian Marrey on Black Country Week, Cllr Judy Foster, Deputy Leader of Dudley Council, pointed out the benefits for moving. She said:

"People opposing the move have to ask themselves whether they are against the museum moving or the building becoming empty - these are two very separate issues. The building the attraction is currently housed in is a beautiful example of historic architecture, but it's no longer suitable for a museum to represent Dudley.

"So many of the exhibits need a temperature controlled space to stay at their best, plus the archive building offers better disabled access and a larger space for more school groups to visit. "

The new museum at the Archives is expected to open in summer next year. The old building in St James’s Road will close at the end of this year while the council considers the future of the site.


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