Moray Council to cease funding museums - Museums Association

Moray Council to cease funding museums

Cuts of £125,000 for Falconer and Tomintoul Museums
Patrick Steel
Moray Council has announced that it will stop funding the Falconer Museum and the Tomintoul Museum from April 2014.

In 2012/13 the council budget for both museums was £125,000. But last week the council approved a reduced budget of £65,000 for 2013/14, and will cease funding entirely from April 2014.

In a letter to the Friends of the Falconer Museum on 14 February, Alistair Campbell, the council's libraries and museums manager, wrote: “The administration’s proposals are to transfer the museums service outwith the control of the council, in effect seeking to transfer Tomintoul Museum to a relevant community group and the Falconer Museum to a relevant organisation, with, in the first instance, the Friends of the Falconer Museum being invited to take over that responsibility.”

But Chris Bridgeford, secretary of the Friends of the Falconer Museum, said: “Most of our members are in their seventies and eighties, and they don’t feel they can take this on. Everyone is very upset about this, we can’t believe it. It is such a loss after all the work that we’ve done.”

Bridgeford added that the Friends were in talks with other museums and heritage groups in the area, but were also looking at a possible move to trust status.

The Falconer Museum currently employs two curators, a visitor development manager, two auxiliary staff and two front-of-house staff, and is supported by around 16 volunteers.

Campbell’s post of libraries and museums manager will be deleted from April 2014 which, alongside the loss of funding at the museums, would mean no museums staff at all within the council.

The council has also approved a 100% cut in its arts budget, and is understood to be the first local authority in Scotland to completely withdraw backing for the arts and culture.

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