Cuts Survey 2015

How funding cuts are affecting museums
Results of the Cuts Survey 2015

In the autumn of 2015 the Museums Association (MA) invited museums from across the UK to participate in our annual survey provide up-to-date information on the changes taking place in museums and the impact of these changes upon the sector.

 115 museums or museum services are represented in the survey

Key findings

  • 18% of respondents said that part of their museum or its branches had closed to the public in the past year or would do so in the coming year.
  • 8% of respondents introduced charging over the past year, and 12% said they would do so in the coming year.
  • 2% of respondents have changed their governance model in the past five years.
  • 11% said they would consider financially motivated disposal in the coming year.
  • 61% of respondents surveyed reported an increase in visitor numbers.
  • 45% of respondents said they had increased the number of unpaid staff, compared to 32% the previous year.

Fundraising and income generation are a top priority for the coming year with 79% and 77% respectively saying that they will be increasing the amount of work in these areas.

Planning for a 52% further cut in budget by 2017, meaning total cuts from 2010-2017 are 69%. We are highly likely to lose museum buildings by 2017 and rationalise collections so that storage costs are reduced."
Local authority museum, Yorkshire

More than 60% said that encouraging participation by involving people and communities in the work of the museum was a priority.

Local authority museums experienced the highest year-on-year reduction in total income, which fell by 2%. This breaks down into a 1% fall in public funding, a 3% fall in self-generated income and a 2% increase in grants and donations.

The cumulative impact of local authority cuts is having a devastating impact, and is starting to threaten museum buildings and collections, as one respondent described.

Links and downloads


Cuts Survey 2015 (pdf)

Cuts Survey 2014 (pdf)

Cuts Survey 2013 (pdf)

Cuts Survey 2012 (pdf)

Cuts Survey 2011 (pdf)

Cuts Survey 2011 report appendix (pdf)

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