Urgent repairs need to be made at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – water is said to have leaked into the building and threatening the works of art inside.
There have been more than 30 incidents in five years related to risks to people and collections due to water entering the flagship site, it has been revealed.
A report approved by the City Council Cabinet today (September 7) calls for a demand on the government for nearly Â£ 5million in funding to address the issues.
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The Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) has a collection of one million artifacts – described in a report to Councilors as’ the city’s greatest cultural asset and an invaluable resource for learning, creativity, health and well-being â.
It also holds the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world, comprising over 3,000 paintings, drawings, prints and examples of decorative art and design.
There are over 47 areas affected by water leaks due to broken and blocked drains, missing flashings and tiles and damaged mortar, pipes, windows and skylights.
The outdoor public elevator has “passed its lifespan” with frequent calls and is out of service for 10% of opening days in 2019.
The main freight elevator has also “exceeded its lifespan, currently operating at idle, showing signs of major failure,” according to Cabinet documents.
In addition, the heating is “insufficient” in large public spaces.
The report to the advisers notes that “several sites of museum properties belonging to the Birmingham council require much needed repairs and maintenance,” but it indicates that only one site can be requested.
The recommendation – approved by councilors today – concerns an offer to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) Fund for Museum Succession and Development (MEND).
The document states: âConsidering the criteria and circumstances, it is recommended that BMAG be the subject of the application – this is the flagship site for museums which has a number of significant infrastructure issues including infiltration roof and windows and aging access elevators. .
“It also happens to be closed for major (wiring) works until 2023-24, which facilitates the works / interventions.”
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The repairs required are described as âvital and urgentâ in the report. The meeting learned that there was water entering the offices of the building.
Expressing interest, Conservative group leader Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) said: âMy wife works there and would probably like to keep water out of the offices where she works.
Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture Cllr Jayne Francis (Lab, Harborne) said: âI hope the Cabinet will give its full support to this request, recognizing the cultural importance of our museums and the reputation we have locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
âThe benefits of the investment will therefore be significant. It is absolutely vital that we make these repairs.
It was understood during the meeting that the work in progress at the Council House will be used as a counterpart funding element for the city council.
The offer has been approved by Cabinet advisers and must be submitted by October 18.
A Â£ 32million redevelopment is currently underway at the neighboring Council House, used by the City Council and partly by the museum.
The work would be necessary because the current electrical installation “cannot be safely maintained”.
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