Friends organisation voices support for museums

British Association of Friends of Museums wants extension of Culture Recovery Fund
Covid-19
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Simon Stephens
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A gardener working at Pockerley Old Hall, part of Beamish: The Living Museum of the North
A gardener working at Pockerley Old Hall, part of Beamish: The Living Museum of the North

The British Association of Friends of Museums (BAFM) is calling on government to extend the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

In a statement, BAFM, which represents 200 groups around the UK, said: “We ask that in planning measures for supporting the post-Covid recovery the government recognises the part museums and galleries can play in supporting  the local and national economy and contributing to the enrichment of many peoples' lives.    

“UK museums really merit that over-used term 'world-leading'.  It would be a tragedy if they and their staff were allowed to become part of the collateral damage of the Covid crisis.” 

The statement, signed by BAFM president Rosemary Butler and chair Alex Walker, said that its members contribute over 250,000 hours of voluntary work to museums annually.  

“However, we do not endorse the use of volunteers as a cost-cutting substitute for paid staff,” the statement continued. “We offer them our solidarity as they face the anxiety of an uncertain future.” 

BAFM also said: “Damaging rounds of redundancies have been announced and the consequent loss of skills and knowledge will take many years to rebuild.” 

The association highlighted the fact that museums have lost income during what should have been their peak season and face ongoing restrictions in the way they are able to operate and engage with visitors. It also pointed to the challenges faced by civic museums and the possibility of further budget cuts as local authorities prepare for a difficult future. 

BAFM is an independent charity established in 1973 for friends, volunteers and supporters in museums, galleries and heritage sites. Today it represents more than 70,000 friends and volunteers across the UK. 

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