Statement on behalf of the BGI Charity and National Videogame Museum, 27-2-2023
On Monday 27 February 2023, through no fault of their own, the staff and Executive team of the National Videogame Museum (NVM, governed by the BGI Charity) found themselves locked out of their museum premises at Castle House, Angel Street, Sheffield, UK.
The lockout is understood to be due to the museum landlord, Kollider, being in dispute with the superior landlord of Castle House, Northpoint. Notices were posted on the exterior of the building, locks were changed overnight, and all tenants of the building (including leadership of the Museum Charity) were told by email early Monday morning that they would not be able to access Castle House.
John O’ Shea and Cat Powell, co-CEOs of The National Videogame Museum, state “This development has come as a shock to the whole team, who were in a buoyant mood after such a positive school holiday week. We know that our work and presence has a real benefit to the footfall and experience of Sheffield City Centre and, alongside our Board of Trustees, are determined to work hard to secure the future of our museum. We are optimistic about finding a resolution with Northpoint in the coming days which will enable us to continue operating in the premises as usual. Members of the public and schools will be notified if their bookings are to be affected.”
Claire Boissiere, Chair of the BGI adds “It’s heart-breaking to see this dispute directly impact the families and children who love visiting the National Videogame Museum. Our mission is to inspire everyone to play, collaborate and learn and we hope to get back to doing this again very soon.”
The National Videogame Museum, is home to over 100 playable exhibits and 5,000 objects of videogame heritage. It also demonstrates the importance of videogames through unique exhibits, a multi-award winning learning programme and its vocational work. The Charity saw a bumper February half-term, bringing almost 4,000 visitors into Sheffield City Centre and was looking forward to opening for a usual week, with school visits, events and birthday parties planned.
Since the lockout, access has been permitted to all Collections and Exhibits for the NVM Team, and this access is anticipated to continue. (Monday is generally a maintenance day at the museum, so fortunately, this did not impact on the experience of museum visitors or schools.)