Many of you will have heard the news that the City of Stoke-on-Trent is planning major budget cuts to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and to Gladstone Pottery Museum. These plans involve the deletion of both ceramic curator posts at the Potteries Museum and the elimination of all staff positions at Gladstone.
The proposals include closing Gladstone from November – March (in the hopes of picking up filming and other commercial work) and opening to the public from April to October, Wednesday-Sunday. The Potteries Museum staff will be expected to manage and run Gladstone in addition to the main building at Hanley. They too will also only open to the public Wednesday-Sunday. How they run both sites with such a reduction in staff and no ceramic curatorial expertise has not been explained. The City has also proposed the introduction of a new post “Curator of Contemporary Collecting”, however as all the current curators already collect, display, and publish on contemporary material within their discipline – the addition makes no sense.
The NCS is liaising over our response with other museums, ceramic societies, arts, heritage and funding bodies across Britain and America. We wish to have accurate and up to date information regarding the City’s plans in order to draft the most effective arguments. If we can focus efforts on the most devastating aspects of the plans, and every society, foundation and fund we are working with responds with the same basic message, maybe we can effect a change in their thinking.
While this intelligence is being gathered, we encourage any members who would like to express their personal appreciation of the Museum services, to add their voice to the public response. If you have ever visited, attended a meeting, enjoyed a programme or exhibition, loaned or given something to The Potteries Museum or Gladstone, if you valued that experience and appreciate the scholarship that the curators have shared with us over the years, you can help change the City’s plans. Tell the councillors about the revenue enjoyed by the City from the visits you have made, let them know how highly the curatorial staff are regarded and what prestige that brings to Stoke-on-Trent. Tell them your story. You can send an email to City’s consultation email address email@example.com