Museums slash staff and opening hours after 'devastating' cuts

Of the 140 museums surveyed, 22 per cent are reducing their opening hours, and 30 per cent are cutting education staff

A fifth of British museums have been hit with "devastating" budget cuts of more than 25 per cent, according to the first wide-ranging survey of the sector since the Coalition's Comprehensive Spending Review last year.

The cuts have had an impact on opening hours, public events and staffing, the Museums Association says in its report on 140 museums across the country, published today.

Of those slashing their spending by 25 per cent or more, 85 per cent have reduced staff levels to cope with their smaller budgets. Two-thirds of those same institutions have also cut public events, and half have scaled back their opening hours.

According to Mark Taylor, the director of Museums Association, the roll-on effect of a cut in Government grants has been "devastating". "Some museums have had 15 per cent cuts, but 25 per cent cuts is teetering on edge of catastrophe," he said.



Among those considering cut-backs was Leicester City Council. Earlier this year it was reported that the city council mooted plans to withdraw public access to three institutions. The local authority says that while cutting budgets and opening hours was considered in a draft budget the proposals were not implemented. Leicester Museums include the Jewry Wall Museum, an archaeological centre which explores one of the city's most popular attractions, part of the original Roman town's public baths.



Among museums which were free but now charge admission are Aston Hall, a Jacobean mansion in Birmingham, and Bournemouth's Russell Cotes Museum – a rare surviving example of a Victorian art collector's house.

"The survey shows it is a myth that you can cut funding without affecting frontline services," said Mr Taylor. "People throughout the UK will have less access to the learning, inspiration and enjoyment that museums bring,."

Of the 140 museums surveyed, 22 per cent are reducing opening hours, 30 per cent are cutting education staff, 46 per cent expect the quality of their services to decrease, while 41 per cent say knowledge and expertise at their institution is being lost. Among those quoted in the association's report is an anonymous former curator of a museum in the South-west of England, who said: "It is a now a zombie museum."

A curator at a military museum in the South-east said: "At the moment things are staying the same. We are anticipating degradation in quality and are planning to increase the number of volunteers when we know what the situation will be."

Another curator, who also remained anonymous, added: "Year-on-year cuts are now causing alarm bells to ring. Jobs are under threat."

History across the Mersey

A museum telling the story of Liverpool opened in the city yesterday. The £72m Museum of Liverpool is the largest museum to be built in Britain for more than a century. At the opening, Professor Phil Redmond, chairman of National Museums Liverpool, said: "Liverpudlians across the ages have created a city with a host of tales to tell, and that is what the Museum of Liverpool is all about."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering