National Sports Museum Feasibility Study

Welsh Government - Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD)

Just Solutions were contracted by the Welsh Government to investigate the possibility of developing a national sports museum for Wales. We conducted a two-stage feasibility study which ultimately informed the decision to develop a National Museum of Welsh Football in Wrexham, the 'spiritual home' of Welsh football. 

Line drawing of a group of people in a museum looking at a display of football memorabilia

Project Scope

We were engaged in 2017 to help the MALD investigate the possibility of a new national sports museum celebrating Welsh sporting heritage. 

The scope of the study included investigating all sports and location options, in recognition of the diverse achievements of Welsh sports and sports people.

 

We would consider a range of relevant factors such as the potential cultural significance of such a museum, logistical and financial viability and the existing offer in Wales.

Evidence Gathering & Review

Our study took the form of a two stage review. 

The first stage involved a comprehensive desk research review into existing sports related museums, discussions with key national stakeholders and an appraisal of the options laid out in the initial brief. 

Throughout the project we also engaged closely with our specialist museums associates.  

After this initial stage it was decided that the preferred option was not to 'do nothing', so we moved on to a more detailed options appraisal. 

In the second stage we made comprehensive cases for various possibilities, such as an enhanced stadium attraction celebrating Welsh rugby and a multi sports attraction in St Fagans. 

Key to the success of this stage was our collaboration with national and local government, national governing bodies for sport, museums and universities. Through exploratory workshops and extensive discussion we were able to deepen our understanding of the potential impact that such a project could have.

Findings

Following this research, we laid out the following recommendations:

Build on an existing collection 

Given a challenging economic climate and the significant expenditure required for a new infrastructure development, it would be most effective to enhance an existing museum with a relevant collection. 

Establish a National Football Museum in Wrexham 

Football is the largest team sport in Wales, making it ideal for engaging and inspiring young people and adults. However, it has no national stadium in which to host a museum.

Furthermore, Wrexham has a legitimate claim to being the spiritual home of the Welsh game, as well as having an existing Welsh Football Collection that would be an appropriate basis for a national museum. 

 

So, the recommended approach was to establish Wrexham as the home for a National Football Museum for Wales, reviewing and expanding on the current local museum. 

Establish a Sporting Heritage Expert Panel

Our review also identified that there was no current strategy or policy for sport, despite its importance to many people and communities across the country. 

 

So, we recommended that a Sporting Heritage Panel be created to establish a National Vision for Sporting Heritage and an associated Framework for Action. 

Proposals for Further Consideration 

Finally, we laid out three proposals for further consideration by the relevant national organisations, regarding possible museums celebrating Welsh Rugby, Welsh Cricket and Multi Sports. 

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Tel. 02920 844734

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Site design and illustration - Stella Rhode 2020