Energy costs cited as the leading cost pressure faced by museums, finds survey

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1st December 2023 14:09 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Energy costs cited as the leading cost pressure faced by museums: A survey of members of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) asking what the cost pressures of their organisation are chiefly related to has found that energy bills are the leading cause for concern (58%). This was followed by spending on goods and services for core activities (55%) and staff costs (47%). Spending on goods and services for capital projects was also cited (45%), along with costs relating to goods and services for programmes/projects (33%). A further 15% said 'other'. 

The Steady State: A snap museums survey September 2023 gathered the views and opinions of 250 members, also finding that while 72% said they feel able to cope with the cost pressures they are facing, for 44% of respondents polled this was only in the short term.

The vast majority of respondents polled said their organisation is taking steps to mitigate increasing costs, with 63% saying they are seeking ways to increase income to cover increased costs (63%) and 37% reporting using their reserves to cover increased costs (37%). A further 37% said they were reducing their energy consumption, whilst just over a fifth said they are reducing other outgoings such as subscriptions, memberships, and training (22%). 

The research also revealed that more than 3 in 5 museums are hopeful that they can increase income to offset increased spending, with 64% saying that despite the challenges, they have not had to scale down planned activity this year.


The importance of finding support and funding was clearly highlighted by the survey, with 85% reporting they are actively looking. 

Amongst the greatest needs cited by members was capital finding for maintenance, with 44% saying they are seeking support in this area, followed by funding for transformation projects (39%).Around two-fifths of respondents also said they are seeking core funding beyond April 2024 (39%), with the same proportion seeking project funding. Furthermore, a fifth of members said they require more support to access funding that is already there (20%).

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