Letter: Museum charges

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Sir: In the next few weeks our major national museums are going to be making crucial decisions which will affect public access for many millions ("Don't end one of our few great Enlightenment legacies", 26 November).

Museums are being told not to look to the public purse but rather to turn to shops and supermarkets to learn how to find the extra income they desperately need. The logical conclusion of this argument is that museums should expect no public funding at all, competing in the visitor attraction market. Museums would be obliged to charge more and more as their funding reduced, inevitably deterring the less well-off.

The alternative is to reaffirm our national commitment - a commitment we have cherished from generation to generation - to fund our national collections properly. This commitment matters not only as an inclusive ideal - that the nation's treasures should be free for all, rich and poor - but also for its economic benefits to the creative industries, to cultural tourism, and to lifelong learning.

CHRISTOPHER NAYLOR

The Earl of CLANCARTY

JAN WOOLF

JENNIFER EDWARDS

HILARY GRESTY

The Campaign for Free Admissions

London NW6

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