Hands on History Museum closes to walk-in visitors - Museums Association

Hands on History Museum closes to walk-in visitors

Hull museum will only open to public on alternate Saturdays
Hull City Council is to cut staff, opening hours and public access at a number of museums in the city this year in a bid to save £150,000 from its heritage budget.

As of this week, the council is to close the Hands on History Museum on Trinity Square to walk-in visitors, granting access to pre-booked groups only.

But the council last week announced a small reprieve for the museum, with some funding reallocated to allow it to open to walk-in visitors on alternate Saturdays between noon and 4.30pm.

The reprieve came after local campaigners launched two petitions against the closure, attracting over 6,000 signatures.

A council spokesman said: “Having listened to public views as part of this process, Hull City Council has decided to reallocate resources from within the service to enable the city's Hands on History Museum to provide additional opening hours.

“The Hands on History Museum will continue to be a working, accredited museum.”

Four posts are under threat at the museum, while remaining staff are likely to be transferred to other sites. The Saturday opening hours will be covered by employees at the Spurn Lightship on Hull Marina, which will also close on alternate Saturdays to enable the transfer of staff. 

One employee at the Hands on History Museum told the Hull Daily Mail last week that morale was “at rock bottom”, with staff afraid to speak out against the cutbacks for fear of being targeted for redundancy.

Elsewhere in the city, the Hull History Centre will close to the public on Mondays and alternate Saturdays.

The council has been criticised for reducing public access to its museums just six months after being named the UK City of Culture 2017 for a bid in which the city’s heritage played a central role. Its spending on the City of Culture festival has also been called into question.

A council spokesman said the budget for the City of Culture came from a separate pot to the funding for museums.

He said: “The council has to make savings within the heritage service budget but we are doing all we can to minimise the impact on visitors."

The spokesman added that the local authority remained the fourth highest spender on culture per head in England.

The council is currently in discussions to create a new leisure company to take over the running of the city’s museums and cultural venues later this year.

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