Museum bodies call for Cultural Recovery Fund to be extended to save civic museums 29 Sep 2020

The English Civic Museums Network, Museums Association and NMDC have issued a joint statement expressing concern about the ‘looming crisis’ that faces civic museums and calling for an extension to the Cultural Recovery Fund beyond the current financial year. Civic museums are particularly vulnerable, being in part funded by local councils which face severe budget shortfalls: currently, 150 councils are predicting a combined loss of at least £3.2bn. Additionally, civic museums are projecting losses of 81% in commercial profits and 66% in donations this year. To date, Birmingham Museums Trust and York Museums Trust have both announced large scale redundancy consultations and Leeds City Council is warning that there may need to be ‘draconian measures’ to address its budget shortfall. Consequently the three museum bodies are calling for:

  • An extension of the Cultural Recovery Fund into 2021 – 22 for local authority museums and trusts
  • A settlement for local authorities allowing them to continue to invest in museums

As well as being a source of education and outreach during lockdown, museums have become a vital part of plans to reimagine towns and city centres post-covid, especially given the trend towards online retail, and visitors attracted by more experience-based trips to the high street. Tony Butler, Director of Derby Museums Trust said “many civic museums… have been in the front line of cultural recovery, helping people re-connect with each other and their place. Covid-19 has accelerated the already declining role of retail in city centres and civic museums have a huge role to play in re-imagining them as places in which to live, work, play and learn.” Museums Journal, Guardian,