Derby Museums warns council cuts would have a ‘devastating effect’ - Museums Association

Derby Museums warns council cuts would have a ‘devastating effect’

Proposed 10% cut could lead to site closures and admission charges, says trust’s director
Visitors at the Museum of Making, which opened in 2021
Visitors at the Museum of Making, which opened in 2021 Chris Seddon/Speller Metcalfe/Derby Museums

A proposed 10% cut to the budget of Derby Museums Trust would have a “devastating effect” and could lead to site closures, the organisation’s director Tony Butler has warned.

Derby City Council has asked the trust to accept a asked to accept a cut in its annual grant of 10% from £710,000 to £639,000, the latest in a series of budget cuts. The figure includes an £80,000 recharge to the council’s IT and HR teams, which the museums do not receive.

In an appeal for support posted on the trust’s website, Butler said the proposed cuts would be compounded by the challenging financial climate, warning that it expects an increase of at least 100% to its energy bills.  

“The cumulative effect of cuts and increased costs are likely to have a devastating effect on Derby Museums,” said Butler. “We will be compelled to explore all options over the next year or so, which includes site closures, reduction in opening hours and staffing, discontinuing of free family activities and the introduction of admission charges.”

“In the last few years, Derby Museums has done the right thing. We have delivered an £18m award-winning Museum of Making; a museum of national importance and vital to the tourist economy of the city. It was a finalist in the 2022 Art Fund Museum of the Year. We built a £2m endowment from scratch and boosted capacity to generate earned income. We are also delivering important skills programmes for children and young people across the city.”

Butler said the current financial model would leave the trust with little headroom, warning that “as things stand, I fear we may ‘run out of road’”.

The trust is appealing to Derby residents to respond to the council’s consultation and urge it to reconsider the cuts.

Derby Museums Trust operates three museums in the city: Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Pickford House and the Museum of Making.

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