Regimental museums prepare for Ministry of Defence cuts

Ministry to halve number of museums it funds by 2030
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Geraldine Kendall Adams
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Fourteen regimental museums across the UK are preparing to lose their Ministry of Defence (MoD) funding in April this year, with some set to merge with other museums of the same regiment.

They are the first tranche of institutions to lose out under cost-saving plans by the MoD to limit its funding to one museum per British Army regiment.

The cuts will be rolled out in stages, with a further set of museums due to lose funding in 2022 and the final tranche set to have their funding cut in 2030. This will almost halve the number of regimental or corps museums that receive MoD funding, bringing the number down from 69 to 36.

The museums due to lose funding in April include the Museum of the King's Royal Hussars in Preston, Lancashire, which already faces an uncertain future as it is housed in the now-closed Museum of Lancashire, and the Royal Welsh Museum: Firing Line, Cardiff.

The 13th/18th Royal Hussars and the Light Dragoons Museum near Barnsley is to close and merge its collections with those of the regiment’s sister museum in Newcastle.
 
A spokeswoman from the MoD said the plans, which will eventually save around £520,000 a year, were necessary following government cuts to the ministry’s overall funding.

The museums in question will continue to receive other forms of MoD support, such as access to courses and training, said the spokeswoman.

“They can still apply for funds from charities, local authorities and other grant-giving bodies,” she added.

Military figures have warned that the double blow of MoD and local authority budget cuts could result in the loss of local military history, with one historian telling the Telegraph that cuts would be “detrimental in terms of local people understanding what the forces are doing for them”.

A statement from the MoD said: “We recognise the important contribution made by these museums in preserving military heritage and acting as the bridge between communities and the army.

“This is why, irrespective of funding, they will continue to receive support and have close ties with their associated regiment.”


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