THE future of a museum celebrating 19th century life has been secured.
An agreement has been reached which will see a local organisation directly manage the Newtown Textile Museum following fears it could close.
The museum will be handed over by Powys County Council (PCC) to the Montgomery Community Regeneration Association as part of a community asset transfer agreement to be finalised early next year.
It will be directly run by the association’s Newtown Heritage Sub-Committee, which has secured grant funding for 12 months towards running costs.
The committee will also enlist volunteer support and are aiming to have the museum open ready for next summer.
Committee chair Janet Lewis, whose father originally opened the museum in the 1960s, said: “I am very happy to report that PCC has agreed to proceed with transferring the museum to the Newtown Heritage Committee.
“The legal arrangements have to be put in place but we are hoping the hand-over will be by March 31, 2016.
“We aim to re-open the museum next summer, even if only in a limited way.”
The museum has been open to the public for 21 years but has seen opening hours diminish due to county council funding constraints.
It contains working looms on its upper floors with the living quarters of former workers laid out below, as things would have been in the weaving house’s 19th century heyday.
Reduced opening hours had led to fears the museum would close but Cllr Graham Brown, cabinet member for culture, said the local authority was “delighted” to have reached an agreement which would see it remain open to visitors.
“Montgomery Community Regeneration Association has a long and well-established history and already has experience of running two buildings of note in Newtown – Plas Dolerw and the Oriel Davies Gallery.
“With £27 million worth of savings to find over the next three years we are having to look to our communities to take on some of the services that we can no longer afford to provide.
“The association has done just that and is another example of community delivery in the county, which is key to ensuring services and buildings continue to run, strengthen and become sustainable for the future.”
Spinning and weaving demonstrations could be introduced to enhance the visitor experience at the museum.
See full story in the County Times