National photography museum faces possible closure
June 6, 2013
Speaking ahead of a government spending review, due to be announced on 26 June, Ian Blatchford, director and chief executive of the Science Museum Group, said it has dealt with a 25% ‘real terms cut in funding’ over the past four years.
In addition to the NMM, the group runs the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York, and Shildon, County Durham; and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
In a statement, sent to Amateur Photographer by the NMM today, Blatchford added: ‘We are investigating a range of options but if an additional 10% cut is made when the spending review is announced at the end of this month, there would be little choice other than to close one of our museums, since our structural [year-on-year] deficit would rise from £2 million to £6m.
‘Cuts at this level will mean that we will again need to make savings across the whole Group, this includes the Science Museum in London and each of our sister museums in the north.
‘I would rather have three world-class museums than four mediocre museums.
‘I should add that charging is not on the agenda because the Government precludes it.’
The Science Museum Group received £38.25m in grant aid from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2011-12.
Blatchford called on the government’s science policy to be ‘more joined up’ and to reflect this by ‘an ongoing commitment to funding across the scientific community’.
The cuts have prompted fears of a ‘north-south’ divide, reported the Independent newspaper on Tuesday.
The issue was highlighted by website British photographic history yesterday.