Wolfgang backs Liverpool museum petition

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Wolfgang backs museum petition
Turner Prize winner support as petition tops 15,000 mark

Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans has joined Liverpool stars of stage and screen to call on central government not to slash funding to National Museums Liverpool.

Tillmans, whose work went on show at the Walker Art Gallery this weekend (18 September), is one of several high-profile cultural names to sign a petition supporting Merseyside’s best loved museums and galleries.

In response to Government’s intention to consult with the public over public sector funding cuts, National Museums Liverpool launched a petition in August over fears that it could be hit with cuts of up to 40% next month, which could lead to the closure of venues.

Museum goers from across Merseyside and the northwest have signed the 15,000 strong petition as have visitors from as far afield as Australia, Canada and USA.

Stars from the city’s music scene today added their names and called on the government to be sympathetic to Liverpool’s cause.

Andy McCluskey, from Liverpool band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, said: “Whilst it’s understandable that the government is trying to save money, it would be a terrible shame to see National Museums Liverpool have to take a backwards step from the fabulous path they have been on.”

Russ Pritchard from The Zutons said: “The museums have been an institution in Liverpool since I was young. I’m gutted they’re coming under threat from these cuts. They offer a creative learning experience for all of our young in this city, free of charge, which is something we should cherish. I urge everyone to sign this petition and support our museums in Liverpool.”

TV’s Neil Buchanan best known for presenting Art Attack said: “I truly believe that in this high-tech modern age of transient fads and crazes – our museums are one of the few remaining ways in which our people can integrate with and participate in our heritage and culture.”

The petition will be sent to government in October when ministers are set to decide on Liverpool’s fate.

David Fleming, Director, National Museums Liverpool, said: “It’s superb to get backing for our petition from people in the public eye who care about culture and what it means to the city. Our visitors too have been quick to get behind us and sign our petition. They realise that the museums and galleries they love are under serious threat. “

In July National Museums Liverpool announced that the National Conservation Centre and Piermaster’s House are under threat of closure due to proposed government cuts. Sudley House in Mossley Hill could also be forced to move to seasonal opening.

National Museums Liverpool has been working with staff and unions to explore all avenues to respond to cuts. The priorities are to safeguard jobs while maintaining world class museums and galleries.

People can sign petitions at each of National Museums Liverpool’s eight venues or online at http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/about/petition.aspx

National Museums Liverpool receives 95% of its funding from Government.

Several National Museums Liverpool improvement schemes have been cancelled due to impending cuts, as well as developments due to be funded by outside agencies. The Find Your Talent programme, which involved thousands of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds getting access to culture, was axed last month following Government cuts. Plans for a new Titanic gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum are being scaled down, owing to cuts to funding agencies. In addition plans to improve public access to the historic area around Liverpool’s two 18th century graving docks – at the heart of the World Heritage Site – have been shelved.

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