The Museum of Croydon could be forced to offer a reduced service

Cuts start to take effect at local authority museums

Patrick Steel, Issue 111/04, p5, 01.04.2011
Museum services are feeling the strain, as councils face up to budget cuts for 2011-12

Maidstone Borough Council is to merge the administration of its museum, tourist information centre and arts centre, with the information centre moving to the museum building.

One vacant post at the museum was deleted in February, and the council is consulting on a proposal to make one of its three curator posts redundant and replace it with a new post of interpretations manager.

Hampshire County Council has confirmed that the Curtis Museum and Allen Gallery in Alton will move to trust status. Volunteers will run the Bursledon Windmill and Rockbourne Roman Villa, neither of which will have a curator on site. The council has deleted the equivalent of 26 full-time posts across the museum service, including nine collections management positions.

Croydon Council is still in consultation with staff over a proposal to cut its museum service from 7.5 to 2.5 full-time equivalent posts, as part of £1.5m worth of savings across its culture department. The Museum of Croydon would remain open, but with a significantly reduced service.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has given Etruria Industrial Museum a six-month stay of execution, while it talks to two local groups about managing it as a trust. The museum’s three full-time staff will remain in post until 1 October.

South Somerset District Council has closed its museum in Yeovil, and relocated the collections to the town’s Community Heritage Access Centre, saving the council £30,000 a year. The post of outreach/education has been made redundant, but three staff will remain to care for the collections.

The Stamford Museum in Lincolnshire will close in June, and Lincolnshire County Council will make seven full-time equivalent posts redundant across its museum service. The management of Church Farm Museum and Grantham Museum will be taken over by community groups.

York Museums Trust is proposing to delete four part-time curatorial posts and two support posts at York Castle Museum. The full-time posts of head curator, head of collections and curator of history would remain.

Update
15.04.2011

Hampshire County Council has sent the following update:

From 1 July, Hampshire County Council will hand over day-to-day front of house management of the Curtis Museum and Allen Gallery to the Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust but will continue to care for the buildings and associated collections, provide exhibitions and learning opportunities at the venues, as well as undertake outreach work within surrounding communities.

The Trust will be guided in their work by a newly formed advisory group made up of representatives from local community organisations and supported by local volunteers.

The County Council will also continue to manage Bursledon Windmill and Rockbourne Roman Villa with the support of local volunteers whilst it works towards increasing community involvement in the day-to-day operation of the sites in the future.

The Museums Service is currently reducing the size of its workforce by the equivalent of 26 full-time posts in a strategic response to changes in Renaissance funding and reductions in local authority budgets.

It is doing this in a way which seeks to maintain many of the beneficial outcomes of Renaissance and to enlist the support and involvement of local communities in so doing.

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