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WAG study to decide on town's call for museum; Hopes that Barry can go back in time to make thebest of its heritage.

Byline: Sean Jones

PLANSfor a heritagemuseum celebrating everything from Butlins to Gavin&Stacey have taken a step closer to reality.

The Assembly Government yesterday announced that it is in talks about the feasibility of Barry Museum.

The town currently has no dedicated museum to celebrate its cultural contributions over the years.

Assembly Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said: "I am aware that there is a movement in Barry to create a local town museum, as there is not one at the moment.

"I have recently had several letters regarding the proposal. My officials in CyMAL: Museums Archives and LibrariesWales have been in contact with the local authority about a feasibility study."

His comments come just weeks after Vale councillors agreed to look at the costs of setting up such amuseum, and sites where it could be built.

The BarryWaterfront, which has been developed on part of the town's historic dockland, is one possible location.

Theministerwas responding to a question from Plaid AM Chris Franks, who called for support for the creation of the museum in Barry during Heritage questions in the Senedd.

MrFranks believedthemove could provide a boost not just to the town's economy, but also for the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan.

He said: "The idea has also been backed by people from across the Vale of Glamorgan, including members of the Dinas Powys Local History Society.

"Dr Jonathan Hicks and other local Vale residents campaigning for themuseum have to be congratulated for their hard work."

Among the items councillors would like to see displayed at themuseumare relics fromthe town's railwaydepot,anditems highlighting the sea and coal industry. There have also been suggestions that a town museum could house displays relating to the old Butlins camp, the hit Barry-set show Gavin & Stacey, and famous son and nationalist leader Gwynfor Evans.

MrFranks added: "Barry has a very rich history and we should protect our heritage."

Councillor Steffan Wiliam said such a museum was "essential" for the town.

"It would be a building of many uses," he added. "The museum would hopefully portray local artists' work, exhibitions and performances." The options to be investigated by the council include building a museum from scratch, using an existing building, and establishing a virtual museum on the internet.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 18, 2010
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