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Cardiff's collection is no museum piece

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Josie Appleton's article on museums (AJ 7.4.05) refers to the proposed Museum of Cardiff.

According to the piece, those behind the proposal 'insisted that such a museum did not need old objects?' Referring to a government consultation paper on museums - which at one point states that museums 'provide a tolerant space where contemporary issues can be explored in safety and in the spirit of debate' - she goes on: 'This is where the Cardiff non-museum fits in: the point is to create a therapeutic space where people can explore emotions and identity - collections can help with this, but they are not essential.' In other words, what's proposed for Cardiff is a bit of entertainment and navel gazing for a wet Sunday.

My colleagues and I wrote the feasibility study on the museum for Cardiff City Council. Appleton's misreading of our study is grotesque. We went out of our way to stress the importance of a first-rate collection at the heart of the museum.

As for a therapeutic space, we haven't a clue what it means.

Personally, I prefer museums to be centres of scholarship and enlightenment and, like Appleton, I have little enthusiasm for au courant words like 'social inclusion' and 'access'. And I can't stand heritage centres.

Ian Jones, Chadwick Jones Associates, London

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