Letter: Museum charges

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The Independent Online
Sir: At the age of 14 I became fascinated by minerals. On a free day I would arrive at the gates of the British Museum (Natural History), as it was called in those days, before opening time, with a textbook and notebook and study till closing time, thus learning a great deal before going to university.

Later, I took my students to the Mineral Gallery to teach them, using this world class collection. Seven of my students are or were members of staff of that department, one reaching the rank of Keeper.

Mine is the story of one individual, whose life has been very greatly enriched by free access to this wonderful mineral collection. We shall never know how many fail to reap similar benefits, due to the introduction of admission charges. I make an earnest plea for free entry to the Natural History Museum and other museums for all people, from school children to scholars, to enrich the cultural heritage of this country.


Emeritus Reader in Mineralogy, University of London

Egham, Surrey