Museums chief advises Ed Vaizey to 'get out more'

The head of the Museums Association will today deliver a hard-hitting attack on the Culture Minister, telling him "to get out more" and stop treating museum specialists like "children".

In a speech at the association's conference, Vanessa Trevelyan will tell Ed Vaizey that museum closures, reduced openings and curatorial losses ridicule government claims of financial savings through back-room cuts. Mr Vaizey is due to attend the conference in Brighton for his own speech.

In her speech, Ms Trevelyan will say: "Minister, I am afraid you really do need to get out more and talk to the people trying to deliver museum services with diminishing budgets. To suggest that cuts of anything from 15 to 30 per cent can be borne without debilitating cuts in our public services is naive at best and disingenuous at worst... Let's not pretend that our front-line services will carry on as before."

Ms Trevelyan is president of the MA, which represents more than 600 institutions nationwide. Separately, she also heads Norfolk's 13 museums and, as a result of cuts, has been forced to close two. Other regions are suffering similar closures, she said.

Challenging the Minister's view of "back-office efficiencies", she told The Independent of an MA survey which found more than 60 per cent of museums have cut back their public events, half have reduced the hours that they open, and more than 85 per cent have cut staff.

For example, cuts have forced the British Museum to close its Paul Hamlyn public library of more than 50,000 books and journals, and to reduce its late opening from two to one night a week. "That doesn't sound like back-office savings to me," Trevelyan said, calling for a proper debate and arguing that core costs – such as maintaining buildings – cannot be reduced.

Her views were echoed by David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool: "There are museums that are disposing of collections, closing down buildings. Posts are being lost... It's not just a case of identifying wasteful practices and stopping doing them. That's a myth and a lie."

Mr Vaizey's spokesman said: "In this tough economic climate, we got a decent settlement for museums in the spending review last year and the scale of the cut should not be impacting on the front line. On top of that we maintained free entry into museums, ensuring that visitors can enjoy this country's rich cultural heritage."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral