Saturday, June 06, 2020

Bad move

Plans for a military museum down at Cardiff Bay were announced last year, but it was the unveiling of the architect's images this week that really seemed to cause a stir - and not only because of the loss of public green space.

The Wales Millennium Centre and the odd exhibition in the Pierhead Building aside, the Bay is a bit of a drearily corporate cultural wasteland, so a development of this sort would in some ways be welcome. But moving the Museum of Military Medicine lock, stock and barrel from its present home in Aldershot (where it has a clear connection to its location) to Cardiff makes little sense - and indeed seems insensitive at very best in light of the fact that the Butetown History and Arts Centre (BHAC) was forced to close its doors a few years back and is currently without premises.

In response to an enquiry from Bethan Sayed MS, prompted by public concern, a representative of the Museum of Military Medicine has insisted that the history of the local area and its people will be reflected in the exhibitions, pointing out that they are working with The Heritage & Cultural Exchange, custodians of the BHAC's archives.

However, in view of the Bay's recent history, and in the current context of the Black Lives Matter movement and heightened awareness of the injustices and erasures that non-white people experience on a daily basis (including here in Wales), overriding objections and making yet another top-down imposition on the area would provoke entirely justifiable anger.

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