National Football Museum unveils new strategy

Museum will charge for entry for the first time
Profile image for Simon Stephens
Simon Stephens
The National Football Museum in Manchester has launched a new operating model in a bid to become financially self-sustaining and more responsive to community needs.

The changes including charging for admission for the first time, starting this week. The museum will remain free of charge to city of Manchester residents and schools, but all other visitors will have to buy a ticket (£10 for adults, £5 for children) that will allow them to visit as many times as they want for a year.

Tim Desmond, who became the chief executive of the National Football Museum in November 2017, said that one of the key aims is to attract a more diverse range of visitors and make the museum more representative.
“When I arrived the organisation had been without a chief executive for a year, it had an interim team and it was facing challenges like lots of organisations that are seeing reductions in their core funding,” Desmond told Museums Journal.
“We had a 'line in the sand' meeting about the future and a lot of it was about restructuring, but it was also about repurposing the museum and building up its confidence.

“We will be revitalising the museum and bringing it into the 21st century,” Desmond said. “People are passionate about football but we need to represent the equality and diversity of the sport.”

The museum is launching National Football Museum Community to increase its social impact by using football heritage to promote equal opportunities and raise attainment, improve mental health and increase self-confidence. Funds from charging will be invested in this work.

Desmond said that the museum receives 66% of its funding from Manchester City Council. The aim is to reduce this to 30% in three years.
The National Football Museum receives between 400,000 and 450,000 visitors a year, with 40% coming from overseas.
The museum originally opened in Preston in 2001 but closed in 2010 after funding was withdrawn. It reopened in 2012 in Manchester in the Urbis building after the city council agreed to support it.

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