Letter: Museum's entry charge dilemma

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Sir: Sadly there are few museums now that allow free access, so the news about the British Museum comes as a depressing blow. The Government argues that people should pay for their entertainment. Museums are not there for entertainment: they are repositories of culture, history, and knowledge in a form that is unique.

Free access to museums has always allowed the possibility of entering, at will, for the day or for just a short time; to sample the whole briefly or to concentrate on one particular item or group of items. This kind of access is particularly important for young children, who do not always have long attention spans but who, none the less, invariably find something to stimulate their interest with each successive visit.

Nor is that kind of access unimportant for adults, be they tourists or academics. I have visited the British Museum for over 20 years and I have always found something "new" on each occasion.

DEREK LEE

Wealdstone, Middlesex

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