Councillors in Swindon look set to sell the town’s museum and art gallery and put the proceeds towards building a new venue at the proposed cultural quarter.

Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet meets on Wednesday (September 8) to consider officers’ recommendation to permanently close Apsley House, the home of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery (SMAG) on the corner of Bath Road and Victoria Hill in Old Town, and temporarily move the collection to the civic offices and Lydiard House.

Apsley House has been closed since lockdowns began in March 2020. The former residential building has seven split level floors with some areas having limited accessibility. It is also in need of significant improvements to continue as a museum, while, at the same time, offering little scope to produce income.

Officers recommend that £400,000, approved in October 2020 to improve the building, should be redirected to accommodating the collection at the civic offices and Lydiard House.

Receipts from the disposal of Apsley House, officers recommend, should be used to support the council’s vision to create a new museum and art gallery as part of the wider cultural quarter proposed within the Kimmerfields regeneration scheme.

Two projects, Art on Tour and Museums Without Walls, will help keep collections on display to the public while the remainder is housed in the new temporary homes.

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