National Media Museum (NMM) bosses insist that the institutionu2019s planned London outpost, Media Space, remains key to its future strategy despite cost cuts announced last week.
Media Space, a gallery set to open at the Science Museum in spring 2013, is expected to showcase a mixture of NMM exhibits – covering photography, film, television and the internet.
However, last week the NMM announced that it was in the throes of a spending review as part of a restructure designed to cut costs after visitors numbers halved over a decade.
The NMM revealed that its running costs are ‘30% more per visitor’ than for other museums in the Science Museum Group.
Asked how the cutbacks will affect the London project, an NMM spokesman told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘Media Space continues to be at the heart of our strategy to increase access to the museum’s collections.’
Last week, the NMM said it would seek to ensure that the museum appeals more to audiences locally and nationally and increase access to its collections.
Earlier this year, AP revealed that more than half of the £4 million needed to fund Media Space will need to come from private sources, such as corporate sponsorship and donations from individuals.
Responding to a Freedom of Information request in March, the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI) – which is overseeing the development – claimed that it had ‘underwritten’ the full £4m project cost.
Media Space attracted an initial budget of nearly £9m, but that was before a £2.8m Heritage Lottery Fund bid was reportedly rejected in 2009.
Charlotte Cotton stepped down from her post as creative director at Media Space in March 2012.
Speaking at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, two years earlier, Cotton said that she was ‘sure we won’t raise all the money needed to do this project’.
In May, photographs donated by Michael G Wilson, co-producer of the new James Bond film Skyfall, were sold to help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Media Space gallery.
Wilson, a well-known photographic collector, was among those to have donated photographs for an auction at Christie’s.
In the auction catalogue, Wilson – who stepped down as chair of the NMM in February – said that Media Space will feature a gallery, restaurant and a ‘learning complex of approximately 20,000 square feet’.
He added: ‘About half of the space is earmarked for exhibitions from the national photographic collection in Bradford as well as international touring shows, which seldom find appropriate venues in this country.’