Military medicine museum plans spark backlash over absence of BAME history

(Title Image: Wales Online)

Plans for a museum of military medicine at Britannia Gardens in Cardiff Bay have prompted a backlash.

Proposals for a museum in Cardiff – which would relocate from Aldershot – have been in place since at least 2017, but the location has changed in the last year to open space near the famous Norwegian Church. It’s been said the £30million museum could attract 250,000 visitors a year and would include advanced 3D technology for exhibits.

While some of the backlash focused on the loss of open space, in light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests – including a large protest in Cardiff’s Bute Park and other places around Wales at the weekend – criticism also focused on a there being no museum dedicated to the multicultural history of Butetown. The Butetown History & Arts Centre closed in 2016.

A petition to the Senedd calling for black, Asian and minority ethnic history to be included in the Welsh curriculum has – at time of posting – received more than 30,000 signatures. The matter was discussed as part of a Culture Committee inquiry in 2019.

Leanne Wood MS (Plaid, Rhondda) said: “Cardiff is not a military town, and it just does not make sense to have a museum glorifying warfare there. What it does have is a rich history, but this is rapidly being pushed aside in the seemingly frantic gentrification of the Cardiff Bay area.”

Labour’s Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr. Huw Thomas, said on Twitter: “I can see why people might object to a museum that glorified war, but I’m not sure a museum with displays such as Florence Nightingale’s carriage, dental and vet equipment, and recent deployments to combat Ebola is doing that.” He added that the museum, if given the go-ahead, would be privately financed and won’t receive any council funds.