Councillors Richard Ormerod, David Freeman, Carole Lattin, Rob Hanson & Helen Weston

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Elvet, Crossgate, Highgate, Sidegate, St Nicholas and Gilesgate Bank Learn more

Former DLI Museum

by Group Office on 12 August, 2021

The council’s Scrutiny Management Board met last week with stakeholders to discuss the future of the former DLI Museum and the DLI collection. Responses from the meeting will feed into the review of the building being undertaken by the new council.
The DLI Museum was closed many years ago by the Labour Council on what they said were financial grounds.
It has since been revealed that it has cost far more to store the collection than it did when the museum was open.
Yesterday it also became clear how Labour had failed to maintain the building or promote it. Hence the building issues and falling visitor numbers when they closed it.
Cllr David Freeman told the meeting that as someone who had served with the 7th (Durham) Battalion Light Infantry that the DLI Museum was so important to him and that it was disgraceful that the previous Council closed the museum on spurious financial grounds and then had no idea what to do with the collection.
He acknowledged however that the new History Centre at Mount Oswald should be the new home for the DLI collection as its history was linked to the wider history of County Durham.
The History Centre will house the various historical collections and records that the Council holds. David said there must be permanent exhibitions about the history of the regiment so that it really would replace the former museum. The former DLI building should be reopened though, as a cultural venue as it was also previously Durham Art Gallery.
Cllr David Freeman said he said that the lack of an art gallery in the city damaged the chances of a successful bid for Capital of Culture which the council has recently submitted.
Council should work with partners to open a new gallery in the former DLI building but also have space for temporary non art exhibitions such as parts of the DLI collection. This would preserve the link with the museums history and the grounds where many veterans ashes have been scattered.

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