National Conservation Centre to close to visitors? - Museums Association

National Conservation Centre to close to visitors?

Government cuts could affect several National Museums Liverpool sites
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Gareth Harris
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Liverpool’s National Conservation Centre (above), part of National Museums Liverpool (NML), could close to visitors later this year if expected government cuts are implemented in the autumn spending review.

Piermaster’s House, a Merseyside Maritime Museum site, may also close. Sudley House in Aigburth, another NML venue, would move to seasonal opening if the department for culture cuts its funding for national museums in October.

“We have been asked by the department for culture to work out models for what 25 per cent and 30 per cent cuts would look like. We fear cuts of up to 40 per cent,” said a spokesman for NML, which will receive £23.7m grant-in-aid this financial year for its eight venues including the International Slavery Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.

NML director David Fleming said the decision to look at site closures was taken after reviewing visitor figures and energy costs, and that NML would try to safeguard jobs.

Alison Richmond, chief executive of the Institute of Conservation (Icon), said: “Closing the public-facing elements of the conservation centre will diminish the offer of Liverpool’s great museums.

“The timing is particularly unfortunate when it is more important than ever to demonstrate the public value of conservation and conservation science.”

The NML said the conservation department would remain if the National Conservation Centre closed.

Under the new plan, most NML employees will transfer to the National Conservation Centre building, as other offices are sold.

Dean Rogers, national officer for culture at the PCS trade union, said: “We urge members to sign an online petition launched by NML against the possible closures.”

National cuts

Museum of Science & Industry

(Manchester): over the four-year review, the cuts could mean a reduction in programmes, cancellation of outreach work and a reduction in staffing. Free entry remains a priority.

Imperial War Museum

(London): has been planning to reduce activities for some time, although the more severe cuts now mooted would result in the scaling back of frontline services.

Victoria and Albert Museum: has launched a programme to reduce staff costs by 15 per cent by March 2011. Will aim to minimise the use of compulsory redundancies in favour of measures such as delaying recruitment and not recruiting to vacant posts.



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