The Grade I listed Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston has been forced to make ten staff redundant following a drastic reduction in funding.
Visit a museum in Lancashire and anything from Victorian mahogany pedestal desks to dinosaur fossils might be on display. Often free to enter, museums are an excellent choice for a cheap day out but maintenance doesn’t come cheap, and they rely heavily on external funding in order to survive – something that’s been put to the test in the current financial downturn. Now, it has been announced that the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston has lost the £500,000 grant it received per year from the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council, leading to ten members of staff being made redundant.
The Harris is a regional museum with important collections that trace the history of Preston and its people. While the museum may be short on antique chests and Victorian balloon back dining chairs , there are plenty of other things to interest the average visitor, including period ceramics, glassware, costumes, fine art and even a 12,000-year old Elk. There are also many artefacts relating to the Preston Guild; an ancient festival that is celebrated every 20 years.
The next Preston Guild celebrations take place this September, by which time the new Discover Preston gallery will have opened with the aid of a £1.5m award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Arts Council has also provided £229,000 transitional funding, which includes money put aside for redundancy payments.
You can also discover history by visiting the antique dealers of Preston, where Victorian mahogany partners desks and examples of other fine furniture are always on display.
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