The Hunterian Museum has had its funding cut from £725,000 to £545,000

University museums in Scotland face 25% cuts

Geraldine Kendall, Issue 111/06, p13, 01.06.2011
Five museums lose a quarter of their core funding for 2011-12
The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has cut core funding to university museums by 25% for 2011-12.

The SFC supports five university museums, including Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum, which has had its funding cut from £725,000 to £545,000, and the Marischal Museum in Aberdeen, which has been cut from £114,000 to £85,000.

Neil Curtis, chairman of University Museums in Scotland, said it was too early to say what effects the cuts would have, although “it could have been far worse”.

“My initial feeling was relief because the equivalent funding for libraries has been cut altogether,” said Curtis.

“We are disappointed with the size of the cut, but pleased that the Scottish government recognises the relevance of university museums.”

University museum directors in Scotland warned last year that cuts to core funding would be “crippling” and would damage their museums’ capability to raise funds from other sources.

Meanwhile, university museums south of the border face uncertainty as the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) is unable to make any commitments about core funding from 2012.

Hefce, which faces a 40% cut to its universities budget, distributed £10.45m in core funding to 31 university museums in 2011-12 – 20%-50% of their total budget.

Nick Merriman, chairman of the University Museums Group, said there was a danger that Hefce would seek to get rid of smaller funding streams in the face of cuts.

“It is a small amount for Hefce, but vital for university museums,” he said. “University museums face a potential double whammy because they get much of the rest of their funding from their parent university, which will be dealing with it is own cuts.”