Swansea Museum under pressure to generate income following funding cut

Welsh Museums Federation warns museum needs more time to generate income
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Rebecca Atkinson
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The Welsh Museums Federation has warned that Swansea Museum’s programming and community work could be reduced amid pressure on the organisation to operate more commercially.

In an interview with the BBC, Rob Stewart, the leader of Swansea City Council, said that Swansea Museum needed to operate more commercially in order to plug the gap created by budget cuts. 

The council is cutting its funding to the museum by £50,000 in its budget next year. Stewart is quoted by the BBC as saying that commercial opportunities such as a cafe can replace some public funding.

But Victoria Rogers, the president of the Welsh Museums Federation, said that the extent and speed of cuts, and a general lack of investment, meant it was harder for museums to immediately generate the amount of income needed to offset cutbacks.

“Swansea Museum is a fantastic example of a community-centred museum, and our concern is that it does not have the time it needs to build its markets and ability to income generate to the levels it needs,” she added.

“Therefore it is likely that its public programming, community outreach and staffing levels will be reduced. We would like to see more support and time given to the museum in order to enable it to generate its income targets successfully.”

As well as its main site, Swansea Museum operates the historical Tramshed attraction and a Collections Centre in the city, and the pontoon, where three heritage boats are currently docked.

A Swansea Council spokesman said: “Although there will be a £50,000 reduction in our budget for Swansea Museum next year, we expect overall funding for the museum to increase through grants and the generation of more income from commercial opportunities.

“The £50,000 reduction – which represents less than 10% of the museum’s annual funding from the council – has already been achieved through restructuring as a result of a number of early retirement and voluntary redundancy applications from museum staff.

“There are no plans to close Swansea Museum. We are reviewing the museum’s business plan to determine new and innovative ways to sustain and improve the service, despite the financial challenges we’re facing.

“We are also reviewing our exhibitions programme to ensure that we attract more visitors to the museum, wherever possible.”



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