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Regional Museums and Galleries

Volume 583: debated on Thursday 3 July 2014

11. What steps his Department is taking to encourage (a) national collections and (b) the royal collection to loan works of art to regional museums and galleries. (904627)

First, may I welcome my hon. Friend to the Chamber? This is the first opportunity I have had the chance to welcome him to the House.

In 2012-13, national museums sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport lent objects to more than 1,500 museums around the country through touring exhibitions, star object loans, loans of local significance and long-term loans.

Regional museums would benefit from a much more active programme of loans from national museums, which are sitting on hundreds of thousands if not millions of works of art that are rarely if ever seen by the general public. The Secretary of State recently viewed the site of the new Newark national civil war museum, which is a perfect example of a regional museum that would benefit from active loans from national institutions. What can the Department do to encourage national museums to review their civil war collections and to loan them to our museum in Newark?

I know for a fact that the Secretary of State thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the new National Civil War centre, which was awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund of £3.5 million in 2012, and we look forward to its opening next year. I am certainly happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss what we can do to encourage loans of civil war objects from national museums, but it is important for the House to remember that national museums are of course independent and do not simply do what the Government tell them.