Survey Shows Museums are Cutting Staff and Increasing Volunteers

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8th October 2013 15:07 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

More than a third of museums and galleries cut staff last year, while nearly half increased the number of interns and volunteers, according to a survey by the Museums Association. In addition, the annual review found that school visits were down on average by three tenths (31%).

The Museums Association reported that staff cuts were primarily due to a reduction in public investment, which continued to affect half of all museums in the past year. More than a fifth (21%) of museums cut their staff numbers by more than 10% during the period surveyed – July 2012-July2013.

The museums body said that, contrary to government plans for museums to attract increased charity funding, only a quarter (28%) of museums that took part saw a rise in income from individual giving – with a fifth (17%) experiencing a fall.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said:

“We want philanthropy to supplement, not substitute public subsidy and it should be seen as one element of a funding model which includes other forms of income generation.”

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association said:

"Interns and volunteers have plenty to offer but can never replace skilled, experienced staff… Museums are adapting to reduced resources, working and achieving impact in new, more efficient ways, but services for vulnerable people and non-traditional audiences are under particular threat as education and outreach suffers."

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