Letter: Museum charges: a `moribund tax' on national culture

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The Independent Online
ir: It is good to see the debate about free entry to museums elevated from the rhetoric of costings and accountant-speak to that of national cultural purpose (leading article, 25 June).

We support free access, as do the thousands of signatories to a petition collected outside museums and galleries all over the country. This petition was presented to Mark Fisher in January, who on that occasion stated his wish to see all core collections free by the year 2000. As the new arts minister he is soon to receive an addendum to the petition, signed with new hope that this will happen.

We are glad to know of the Government's urgent review of charging. The value of free entry far exceeds cost in terms of Britain's regeneration. The entry fee is a moribund tax, turning visitors into customers and thus changing the nature of the relationship between the people and the arts and sciences.

JAN WOOLF

Visual Artists' Branch, BECTU

The Earl of CLANCARTY

JENNIFER EDWARDS

Director, National Campaign for

the Arts

CHRISTOPHER NAYLOR

Director, National Association for Gallery Education

JOHN WORKER

President, Arts and Heritage Group, PTC Union

London SW1

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