A Black Country museum, which was forced to close its doors in December after talks to secure its future fell flat, could reopen again after local volunteers stepped in to help run it.
Campaigners who fought to save Willenhall Lock Museum in New Road decided that if no funding is forthcoming to secure the site’s future, they would be prepared to run it themselves, under the banner of the Friends of the Lock Museum Group. Using this method, they are confident of securing National Lottery or European funding.
The group criticised Walsall Council, saying the authority sounded the death knell for the venue last year by withdrawing its £12,000 funding.
When funding was withdrawn, site owners wanted to shift the listed building, known as Locksmith’s House, brick-by-brick to their Dudley base, but Walsall Council opposed the plan.
Willenhall North councillor Ian Shires said that while he is angry over the closure, he is optimistic for its future.He said: “We’ve had some fantastic feedback and around 50 people attended the Local Neighbourhood Partnership meeting to discuss the museum’s future.
““Because of the interest, we are getting local people saying they would like to be voluntary workers at the museum. That’s exactly the good news that we need to be hearing. “
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people visit the Lock Museum each year, a figure dwarfed by the neighbouring Leather Museum which averages 25,000 visitors. Walsall History Museum attracts about 14,000 people each year.
The next meeting of the Willenhall Local Neighbourhood Partnership will take place on February 18 at 6pm.