Museums run by councils hit by cuts to public funding, survey finds

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20th January 2016 12:24 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

According to a recent survey, cuts to public funding have affected all museums; however, those run by the council have been impacted the most.

Conducted by the Museums Association, The Cuts Survey 2015 discovered that there has been a 2 per cent fall in total income for museums run by local authorities.

The Cuts Survey also revealed that 18 per cent of museums in the United Kingdom had closed a branch, or part of their museum, in the last 12 months and intended to continue to do so in the next year. As well as this, 44 museums have closed in the United Kingdom since 2010.

The Museums Association’s survey also revealed that museums are being forced to charge, with 8 per cent introducing a fee in the last year. A further 12 per cent said that they would introduce a charge in 2016.

As well as cuts and charges, museums are also selling off their collections to raise money. Of the respondents, 11 per cent said that they were thinking about disposing of items for financial gain in the next 12 months, an increase from the 9 per cent who said the same in 2014.

The research also discovered that 12 per cent of museums had altered their governance model since 2010, with 3 per cent becoming trusts, 1 per cent becoming a social enterprise and 8 per cent switched to another model, such as a community interest group or a mixed model.

Director of the Museums Association, Sharon Heal, said of the research findings:

‘Museums that serve local communities deliver real public benefit and there is a danger that whole areas of the country will have these services wiped out if the cuts continue.

‘We are particularly concerned about the impact of the cuts to local authority funding in the English regions and the devolved nations. The MA will continue to advocate for all museums and the life-changing experiences that they can provide.’

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