FREE ADMISSION TO MUSEUMS - June 2007
A group of national museum directors signed a letter to the Guardian in support of free admission to museums, in response to media coverage of the issue:
Fund museums to keep them free
Thursday June 21, 2007
We write to express our support for free admission for the UK's national museums which has been an overwhelming success and has made our national collections accessible to all. We recognise that free admission has been a central part of this government's policy for museums and has been one of its most significant achievements. We also welcome the Conservative party's commitment to the principle of free admission.
Free admission has seen nearly 30m more visits to our world-renowned collections. Visits to former charging museums have increased by 87% and have attracted more diverse audiences. An extra 16 million children have visited museums since they were granted free entry in 1998, and the number of visits from people from lower socio-economic groups has risen to 6.5 million in 2004-05. However, it should be noted that free admission was only made possible through additional public funding. Adequate public funding remains vital if we are to continue to attract and engage with an increasing number of different audiences offering not only information, learning and enjoyment, but the potential to transform individuals, communities and society.
Mark Jones Director, V&A
Nicholas Serota Director, Tate
Neil MacGregor Director, British Museum
Charles Saumarez Smith Director, National Gallery
Dr Michael Dixon Director, Natural History Museum
Sandy Nairne Director, National Portrait Gallery
Dr David Fleming Director, National Museums Liverpool
Michael Houlihan Director, National Museum Wales
Jack Lohman Director, Museum of London
Rosalind Savill Director, Wallace Collection
Tim Knox Director, Sir John Soane's Museum
Dr Michael Fopp Director, Royal Air Force Museum
Dr Alan Guy Director, National Army Museum
Alec Coles Director, Tyne & Wear Museums
Dr Gordon Rintoul Director, National Museums Scotland
Martyn Wade Director, National Library of Scotland
Robert Crawford Director, Imperial War Museum
Click here to read the related article by Charlotte Higgins, also published in the Guardian on 21 June.