The Museum of Rural Life is introducing a £3 charge for five- to 12-year-olds

NMS sites to charge under-12s admission

Geraldine Kendall, Issue 111/04, p8, 01.04.2011
Three museums change policy on free entry for children to compensate for budget cuts
National Museums Scotland (NMS) is bringing in charges for children over the age of five at several national museums to make up for cuts to its budget.

Entry for children between five and 12, which was previously free, will cost £3 at the Museum of Rural Life and £4 at the National Museum of Flight.

The National Museum of Costume has already started charging £2 admission for children over five.

An NMS spokeswoman said the move would help raise income without forcing the museums to compromise the quality of exhibitions.

“Due to cuts in our grant from the Scottish government, we are looking at a number of areas in which we can increase income generation, while maintaining the high quality of experience that we offer across all our museums,” said the spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman added that the NMS had not increased VAT until 1 April, despite the national rise in January. The Scottish government cut the NMS grant for 2011-12 by 4.2%.

Maurice Davies, head of communications and policy at the Museums Association, said the NMS move reflected the “uncertainty” facing Scottish museums.

“About a year ago, if museums were talking about charging, they were talking about reducing or abolishing charges,” he said. “This [move] shows that it is not possible for museums to absorb cuts in funding without it having an impact on frontline services.”

Entry for school groups and under-fives will remain free at all three museums. The National Museum of Scotland will continue to be free for all visitors.