Funding for NMPFT’s London venue remains unclear

January 24, 2006

The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (NMPFT) still plans to open a permanent exhibition space in London. However, a year after it first discussed the move the museum has still not decided on a venue or released details of funding.

The NMPFT ? which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire ? was considering Somerset House on the Strand as a possible venue to showcase its historic collection (see AP News 19 February 2005).

However, discussions between the two parties do not appear to have progressed since last year, according to a spokeswoman for Somerset House. Despite this, she does not believe the plans have been shelved.

The NMPFT is understood to be financing the move through a fundraising project but has so far declined to confirm how much has been raised, telling us: ?The funds ? which have been generously donated so far ? are being held in anticipation of a wider fundraising campaign starting at the appropriate time.? The spokesman continued: ?Once we have reached agreement on a venue we will then have a clear idea of what we need to raise to ensure a suitable environment for displaying historic material. It would be premature to begin a [fundraising] campaign now with no clear target in mind.?

Last year a high-profile figure ? who did not wish to be named – donated £36,000 from the auction of his 1921 Edward Weston print of Tina Modotti to help the museum find a permanent venue in the capital (see AP News 16 April 2005). At the time he expected the cash raised from the sale to ?start the ball rolling? for the fundraising project. The total funds needed to finance the scheme were thought to be ‘substantial’.

The museum confirmed that it remains ?very committed to creating a London presence? and is ?actively pursuing a number of possible options?. The spokesman added: ?We want to make sure that we get the right location and that process is necessarily time consuming.?

Last year it was reported that three rooms would be set aside at Somerset House to run four exhibitions a year.

? The NMPFT is expected to showcase some of the historic items from the photography galleries at the Science Museum, the closure of which was revealed by AP last week. Michael Pritchard, director of Photographic Equipment Auctions at Christie?s auctioneers in London believes that the NMPFT?s anticipated ?London presence? may bring a display of historic cameras and equipment back to London in future. But, he added: ?Until that happens collectors, photo-historians and tourists will need to make a trip to Bradford to see anything comparable.?

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