Poor weather necessitates cuts at Dudley museum - Museums Association

Poor weather necessitates cuts at Dudley museum

Open-air museum could be forced to shed 70 jobs
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Gareth Harris
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The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley said the “appalling weather over the past five months” has caused a slump in visitor numbers, prompting a spending squeeze that may lead to the loss of 70 jobs.

The museum also plans to reduce costs by closing two days per week between November and next Easter. 

A statement from the museum said: “The museum, which is 98% self-funded, has seen a drop in its revenues during the current uncertain and difficult economic times. As an outdoor attraction, this has been compounded by the awful weather over the past five months.”

The museum’s annual running costs are £3.3m and the proposed cuts will save about £250,000. Dudley council will withdraw its £70,000 annual grant in 2013.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed picture for other outdoor museums this summer.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire, which comprises 10 museums, suffered a 4% fall in visitor numbers between June and August, compared with last year.

But Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, in County Durham, reported that attendances were up in June and August on 2011. 

St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff experienced an 8% drop in visitor numbers in June to 51,459, although attendances in July and August were higher than last year. 

Correction: 01/10/2012

This article was amended to remove an incorrect reference to an annual fall in visitor numbers at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North.

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