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Save The Tolson Museum

This petition had 3,104 supporters

Gifted to the people of Huddersfield in the aftermath of the Great War, the Tolson Museum is the only institution in Kirklees that focuses on Huddersfield's local history. Housed in an attractive and easily accessible parkland site to the East of the town centre, it posses a unique collection of artefacts that tell the story of the town's past.

Following years of neglect that have seen fabric of the structure deteriorate, Kirklees council are now threatening to close the museum as part of a short-sighted cost saving programme. Along with three other museums facing closure, it is proposed that its collection will be merged with that of the town art gallery to provide a single, combined resource housed at the current art gallery site on the top floor of the Huddersfield library building.

Not only will this change see Kirklees council drastically reduce its cultural footprint - itself a serious issue - but the proposal for a single, town centre site poses serious practical problems, not least around ease of access and volume of exhibition space.

Any move to centralise collections to the current art gallery site would risk a reduction in usage, as, unlike the Tolson museum, the art gallery's town centre location lacks free on-site parking. More than this, the art gallery's exhibition space is significantly smaller than that offered by the Tolson museum, and so it is highly likely that any centralisation at this site would see a significant portion of the merged collection withdrawn from public view. Particularly as many of the items in the Tolson collection are unique, and cannot - for practical reasons - be exhibited at the art gallery's current top floor site, this change would almost certainly result in a serious loss of cultural heritage for the people of Huddersfield.

In addition to the cultural impact, it is important to remember that the Tolson Museum is also a much loved community resource that, with its surrounding parkland, plays host to a range of popular events - from Tea and Cake talks to Easter craft activities. These are not offered at any of the council's other sites, and so the loss of the museum would also have serious consequences for the local community.

While mindful of the cost constraints facing the council, and their need to reduce expenditure, we believe that there are serious reasons to consider saving the Tolson museum, and call on the cabinet of Kirklees council to explore alternative options that would allow them to save money while also averting the proposed closure of this vital resource.

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