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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Fight on for new museum
Gold cape
It is hoped this Bronze Age cape would be one of the museum's key exhibits
Plans to build a new national museum of Wales - the first in north east Wales - are under discussion.

Campaigners fighting for the scheme in Mold, Flintshire, have secured funding for a feasibility study into the project.

They want the museum to focus on prehistory, with a priceless Bronze Age gold cape found in Mold, now housed at London's British Museum as the star attraction.

There are currently eight branches of the National Musem and Galleries of Wales around the country.

This latest project would become the ninth.

The study will investigate the impact of the museum, which supporters say would attract visitors from across the English border in nearby cities like Liverpool and Chester.

It will also consider the possibility of including a national gallery of contemporary art within the project.

The prehistory of north Wales is a rich and complex thing but one would need a lot more detail in the proposal
Mike Tooby, National Museums and Galleries of Wales

The study is being backed by the Welsh Development Agency, the Welsh Tourist Board, Flintshire Council and leading Mold businessmen.

Adrian Barsby, one of the businessmen backers, said the area needed "a centre to celebrate the unique culture of Wales".

"In Chester there are five million visitors a year - 650,000 of those go to Chester cathedral alone," he said.

"We believe that if we had a museum of international, national and regional importance, then that would attract a good proportion of those into north Wales and feel the economic benefit accordingly."

Mike Tooby, director of the National Museums and Galleries in Cardiff, supported the research to assess whether the museum would work.

National Museum in Cardiff
The centre would work alongside the National Museum in Cardiff

"The prehistory of north Wales is a rich and complex thing but one would need a lot more detail in the proposal," he said.

"I think it's a very good idea to have a scoping study to try and address that."

Gwenno Jones, arts and museums officer at Bodelwyddan castle in Denbighshire, said the way the museum worked alongside the other Welsh museums would be vital for its success.

"I think the relationship would have to be a strong one - they would have to work side by side in partnership," she said.

In north Wales, Segontium Roman Museum in Caernarfon and the Welsh Slate Museum in Llanberis are already part of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.




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