The history behind Bradford's loss of the Royal Photography Society archive to London's V&A

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It would have made more sense that in the 1990s the than National Museum of Photography, Film and Television should have become an independent museum and receive funding directly from the DCMS and not through the Science Museum Group. This would have given the museum more latitude in defining their future, but this is now too late.
I am sure that another name change is on the cards for the Bradford outpost, probably in a few years time when the museum has opened its new interactive galleries. We have already gone from the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television to the National Media Museum. Maybe we shall see the rebranding of the museum to the National Museum of Light and Sound in a few years time.
Even in a globalised world where telecommunications and multinational corporations undermine national boundaries there seems to be a need to define culture at a national level. At the same time we see the association of photography with the idea of nationhood or museum is diminishing. But an enterprising festival could organize the National Photographic Museum Festival. Or may be one of the few photographic galleries still left could organise a programme of National Photographic Museum Exhibitions. Even an enterprising publisher could develop a book with the title The National Photographic Museum Publication. They could keep the flame burning; keeping nation and photography synonymous for the future when other options might arise.
Were there other options? When I was director at The Photographers’ Gallery and applied for lottery money they were key individuals at the Arts Council that where not keen to support the Gallery either to increase the size of the organization or have a dedicated space for photography, never mind supporting a national photographic gallery. Though not stated explicitly the Arts Council is keener to support generalized building based organizations like galleries that can cover a wide range of art forms rather than ones that specialise in one art form such as photography. The Arts Council is more willing to support organizations that focus on one art medium if they are smaller agency-based like festivals that have lower overheads.
The history of some of our national museums like the Tate and British Museum are based on donations or sale of private collections to the state to form a national institution. Could one or more benefactor do something similar today to create a new national museum of photography? Neither the V&A nor the Tate would be keen on this and would advise against this because they are more interested increasing their own holdings of photography that focus on art.
So may be the last great photography exhibition that challenged the split between the applied arts and the scientific was also the first photographic exhibition that was held in 1851 at the Great Exhibition. Here photography was seen as both art and science and was exhibited together with the technologies of making images like cameras and lens. This was the moment when a different museum could have developed that could have embraced the art, the scientific and the technology of photography.
Unfortunately that opportunity was missed. And so today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we watch as a collection of photographic images of the most historical importance shipped around the country, seeking a new home.