24th January 2002

AQ2 Alison Halford:

What consideration has the Minister given to the need for a large museum for north Wales? (OAQ15127) Jenny Randerson: The National Museums and Galleries of Wales already has the Welsh Slate Museum in Llanberis, and a further site at Segontium in Caernarfon. I have provided extra funding for the Council of Museums in Wales from 2002-03 onwards to enable it to identify two local museums which can be further developed, particularly by showing national treasures on loan from the National Museum of Wales. I have asked that one of those local museums be in north Wales.

Alison Halford:

Do you realise that, if north Wales had such a museum, we could make a legitimate claim for the return of the gold cape of Mold? It is a Bronze Age artefact that rests in the British Museum. It cannot be allowed to return to its rightful home because of a security problem. Had we a proper museum, the British Museum would allow it to return, which would benefit tourism and economic development. Will you help us to secure that goal for north Wales?

Jenny Randerson:

Thirty-four museums in north Wales are members of the Council of Museums in Wales. I hope that one of those museums will be an appropriate candidate to receive the additional funding to which I referred. The purpose of that funding is to provide the conditions and the security needed for housing more valuable artefacts. I hope that, with improved security in one of the north Wales museums, we can reclaim this cloak. If you write to me with the details, I will be happy, in principle, to consider approaching the British Museum.

Gareth Jones:

What recent discussions have you had with the Minister responsible for north Wales, namely the First Minister, regarding developing the arts in the region? What improvements or developments are the constituents of Conwy likely to see as a result of the £2 million that you intend to spend outside Cardiff?

Jenny Randerson:

I speak to the First Minister every week. Arts and sporting provision is a frequent topic of conversation, as he has a considerable interest in those matters. As regards Conwy, the Arts Council of Wales has undertaken an audit of performance space at my request, which is virtually finished. It has also undertaken several reviews on other issues, including gallery space and festivals. All of these have an impact on Conwy and north Wales in general. I hope that we can support many projects as a result.

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