Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010
County museums to be amalgamated
Hartlebury Castle
Hartlebury Castle was home to the Bishops of Worcester for over 1,000 years

Four museum services in Worcestershire will join forces from Thursday, 1 April, to save money.

Museums of both the city and the county councils will be managed by a joint committee, with Worcestershire County Council acting as the host authority.

Iain Rutherford has been appointed as Museums General Manager to lead the new service.

He said : "By pooling our resources we will be able to deliver an enhanced service for residents and visitors."

The joint service will mean:

  • The two museum services budgets at the city and county councils will be merged.
  • All staff will be transferred to the county council.
  • The buildings will remain in the ownership of the two councils along with ownership of the individual collections.

Iain said: "We have already identified a number of priority areas - including collections, learning, marketing and the creation of a new website - and will be working hard to develop and promote exciting new projects and displays."

The Commandery
The Commandery dates back to the 12th century

Financial savings

With financial savings high on the agendas of Worcestershire's councils, the new joint museums service has already identified savings of £103,000 for 2010/11.

The new joint service has already been highly commended by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council as a model for other museums to follow.

Cllr Philip Gretton, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult & Community Services, said: "I am very pleased that we are getting the joint museum service up and running, partly for the efficiency savings we are generating by merging the two largest local authority museum services in Worcestershire, but mainly to preserve and enhance public access to our collections, which form an important part of Worcestershire's heritage."

The museums that will be managed under the new arrangements are:

  • The City Museum and Art Gallery.
  • The Commandery.
  • Hartlebury County Museum.
  • Hartlebury Resource Centre and Store.

Between them, these sites attract over 100,000 visitors every year.

Iain concluded: "Arts and heritage are important sectors of our economy with the potential to generate significant and long lasting economic and community benefits to the county.

"They also provide a thriving space for educational events and experiences, as well as a celebration of art and objects that tell the story of Worcestershire."

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