Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Sixth Report

2  The museums and galleries sector

10. Although some commercial enterprises offering displays to the public for profit can be described as museums, most people think of museums as institutions which "collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens" which they hold in trust for society.[3] The concept includes art galleries with collections of works of art as well as museums with historical collections of objects. When we refer to "museums" in this Report, we therefore include galleries.

11. England has more than two thousand museums, ranging from great national galleries and museums which hold world-famous collections and receive their core funding from the government, to small volunteer-run charitable trust museums.[4] As a handful of our museums were established by Act of Parliament, while others have sprung up all over the country as the result of local enthusiasm and individual vision—and they all rely for survival on an assortment of funding streams—it is no surprise that the structures for museums and galleries in England are somewhat piecemeal and do not divide neatly into self-contained categories.

12. DCMS defines as "nationals" the fourteen museums which were founded by Act of Parliament:[5] these include the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum (all of which are also "national" in the sense that they are museums for the whole of the United Kingdom), the National Museums Liverpool (which is the only national collection based wholly outside London) and also the Museum of London, which has been sponsored by DCMS whose responsibility is to be devolved to the Greater London Authority.[6] Several of the national museums have divided their collections between venues in London and one or more permanent bases in other parts of the country. The Tate, for example, now has permanent galleries in Liverpool and St Ives, as well as Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London.

13. Publicly funded regional museums also include numerous museums run by local authorities and by universities. There are nearly 700 local authority museums, some of which are major regional services. Many of these house collections and artefacts which are primarily of regional or local interest,[7] although they may also have items of national and international importance. In addition, many will also have significant collections relating to our industrial and social heritage. Around a hundred of the university museums are also regularly accessible to the public. Many of the university museums are of international significance; some are regarded as the principal museums in their respective regions and a few of them hold a position comparable to that of national museums.[8] In addition there are more than 800 independent museums which are managed outside central or local government, although some receive annual grants from their local authorities.[9]

14. More than 60 of England's non-national museums have collections which have been designated as being pre-eminent collections of national and international importance under the Designation Scheme.[10] This scheme was launched in 1997 for museum collections only and was extended to libraries and archive collections in 2005. It now covers 121 pre-eminent collections, some of which comprise the entire collection of an institution while others are part only of the particular institution's holdings. Designation brings a number of benefits, including enhanced ability to raise funds to support the collection, in particular the eligibility for grants from the Designation Challenge Fund through which £24 million has been awarded since 1999.[11] The scheme is administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

15. About three quarters of the museums in England have achieved accreditation under the Museum Accreditation Scheme, also administered by the MLA, which builds on the Museums Registration Scheme introduced in 1988.[12] The scheme provides a nationally agreed minimum benchmark against which museums may be assessed. To qualify, museums must meet basic requirements on how they care for and document their collections, how they are governed and managed, and on the information and services they offer to their users.[13] It takes into account parts of the Museums Association Code of Ethics relating to the acquisition and disposal of objects within museum collections, including obligations on museums to acquire items honestly and responsibly, to safeguard the long term public interest in the collections and to recognise the interests of people who made, used, owned, collected or gave the items which are now in the collections.[14] Museum accreditation has recently been adopted as a performance indicator for local authorities for the purposes of Comprehensive Performance Assessment.[15]

16. The diversity of the sector is reflected in its range of membership organisations, many of which submitted evidence to this inquiry. These include:

  • the Museums Association, which has over 5000 individual members and 600 institutional members encompassing around 1,500 UK museums;
  • the National Museum Directors Conference, which represents the leaders of the UK's national museums and galleries;
  • the MDA (formerly the Museum Documentation Association), whose members are drawn from the museums and other sectors;
  • the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) whose members represent over half the UK's museums;
  • the University Museums Group whose members include museums and individuals;
  • the Groups for large (GLLAM) and small (GoSLAM) local authority museums; and
  • the Visual Arts and Galleries Association (VAGA) whose membership comprises organisations and individuals concerned with modern and contemporary visual art.


17. Museums cost money to run, but they also generate significant economic, as well as social and educational, benefits for the nation. The annual turnover of the whole sector—including all museums and galleries, from the largest national institutions to the smallest local ones—has been estimated as being in excess of £900 million, and its full economic impact has been estimated at more than £2 billion per annum.[16] The funding landscape for museums, galleries, archives and libraries is extremely complex,[17] with public sector funding being distributed in a number of ways, to provide project funding across the whole sector as well as core funding for national, local authority and university museums. Self-generated income, including private and voluntary sector funding, represents a substantial contribution to the overall resources of most museums, while many independent museums rely entirely on self-generated income from paying visitors coming through the door. According to much of the evidence we received, the funding landscape is also regarded as depressingly bleak, despite some very welcome new funding which has come on-stream in the recent past. After a history of long term under-funding, from which the sector has not yet fully recovered, it now sees a worrying prospect of reductions in funding for different reasons for different parts of the museum sector.[18] We have considered these in detail in subsequent sections of this report.


18. DCMS is a direct sponsor of 22 museums and galleries, including the 14 nationals, Tyne and Wear Museums and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which together received around £320 million of grant-in-aid funding in 2006-07. DCMS grant-in-aid allocated to the 17 of the 22 DCMS sponsored museums and galleries which are classified as non-departmental public bodies for the period 2000-01 to 2007-08 is summarised by the following table:
2000-1 2001-2 2002-32003-4 2004-5 2005-62006-7 2007-8
£m 226.29241.46 264.96275.63 280.37291.99 314.93335.66
% increase +3.65%+8.0% +9.7%+4.0% +1.7%+4.1% +7.9%+ 6.6%

DCMS told us that there had been a 63% increase in grant-in-aid funding to national museums and galleries between 1997 and 2008 and that the £1.3 billion provided in the five years from 2000-01 included around £140 million compensation to enable the sponsored museums which had formerly charged for entrance to offer free entry.[19] The DCMS definition of "national museums and galleries" does not cover all museums or galleries with the word "national" in the title. Some "national" museums have not received anything like a 63% increase. The National Football Museum (which was opened in 2001, with the Heritage Lottery Fund providing £9.3 million of the initial funding of £15 million) told us, at an informal meeting, that the grant-in-aid funding from DCMS had not increased since it was established.

19. We took evidence about funding from the National Museum Directors' Conference as well as from five of the national museums individually. Their perception was that the percentage increase in cash terms in recent years does not present a true picture of museum funding because increases which only keep pace with inflation amount to reductions when compared with real cost increases in the wider economy.[20] Most of the grant-in-aid goes on core running costs such as staffing, utilities, maintenance and rates, which are rising above inflation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and which have risen on average by more than 40% since 1997-98. The V&A said that, since staffing costs accounted for the highest proportion of running costs, the average earnings index (AEI) provided a better measure of the inflation in its costs. Since AEI had risen by 40% between 1997 and 2006, the V&A said that its grant-in-aid had not maintained its value compared to 1997-98, but had fallen in real terms by £3.5 million.[21] The V&A also calculated that if the amount designated to make up for the loss of admission charge revenue was excluded, its grant-in-aid had risen by only 12% between 1997-98 and 2005-06, only just matching CPI.[22] The V&A and the British Museum also referred to figures showing that the increases in grant-in-aid for national museums in London, since 1997-98, had not been evenly distributed: while the Tate's grant-in-aid had gone up by 75%, the National Gallery's had risen by 14%, and the British Museum's by 19% in that period.[23]

20. Running costs have also risen as a direct result of the dramatic increase in the performance of the museums over the past decade, particularly in terms of visitor numbers, and we were told that increases in government funding do not compensate for this.[24] Ten million extra visitors have been accommodated, increasing wear and tear on the buildings and requiring more staff to cater for the extra numbers.[25]

21. Without investment in their infrastructure there is a risk of deterioration for collections and the buildings that house them, which are often important historic cultural items in their own right as well as vehicles for the delivery of public services.[26] The National Museum Directors' Conference (NMDC) said that the argument for higher investment in infrastructure had been won in other areas such as schools, hospitals, sports facilities and government offices, increasing the quality of work done and the services provided. NMDC's view was that, for a fraction of those investments, comparable gains could be achieved by museums, where investment was long overdue, and that the longer it was neglected, the greater was "society's self-imposed brake on museums achieving their full potential". It said that most museums had a maintenance backlog and also needed to refit, renew and refurbish galleries. The national museums' priorities for medium term investment in infrastructure were structural maintenance of old or listed buildings, modernising public spaces to meet enhanced expectations, improving energy efficiency (in front of house, storage and back office areas), digitising collections information and supporting partnerships through increasing collections care, and skills development.[27] They needed to be able to budget for the periodic renewal and modernisation of their assets, yet find that building maintenance is an increasingly pressing problem.[28]

22. The V&A told us it could not spend at the level it should to maintain the fabric of its historic buildings, and that the cumulative backlog stood at over £20 million, growing by at least £1 million per year. Its trustees' building strategy committee recommended an annual spend of £3 million, with an absolute minimum of £500,000 per annum but the museum had been able to allocate just £135,000 from core budgets in 2006-07.[29] The Travers Report found that up to a third of museum displays and facilities were in need of renovation and that at current funding levels there would certainly be no significant resources to add to collections.[30]

23. When he spoke to an audience drawn from the British cultural sector, in March 2007, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, offered some encouragement about future funding for the sector when he said that "a nation that cares about art will not just be a better one", it will be a more successful and cohesive one. He referred to nervousness that the "the golden era may be about to end", and concerns over the comprehensive spending review and the claim on resources made by the Olympics, and sought to lay them to rest, adding "We have avoided boom and bust in the economy. We don't intend to resume it in arts and culture."[31]

24. In setting the levels of grant-in-aid to directly sponsored museums and galleries Government should take more account of the need for museums and galleries to maintain their often historic buildings as well as their collections. We accept that grant-in-aid overall has risen roughly in line with inflation over the last ten years, but it must be recognised that increases which do no more than keep pace with inflation amount to no increase in real terms and may not meet real and unavoidable increases in running costs. Over the years, some sponsored museums have built up substantial backlogs in the maintenance of their fabric, which cannot be left indefinitely. The Government should either reflect this need in the levels of grant-in-aid or enter into discussions with the museums which it sponsors, to identify an alternative means of dealing with these backlogs.

The Theatre Museum

25. The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden is part of the V&A. Early in 2006 it was apparent that the future of the Museum had become extremely precarious. The Museum opened in leasehold premises in Russell Street, Covent Garden, in 1987, and the building has been found to have severe limitations and to require major investment to make it fit for purpose. Following two unsuccessful applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund for support, the Trustees of the V&A issued a consultation paper outlining the issues and the options which were under review for the future of the museum.[32] On 25 September the V&A announced that the museum would be likely to close in January 2007, and the theatrical collection would be housed in a new gallery on the V&A's main site.

26. Several organisations expressed to the Committee their dismay at the proposed closure.[33] When we asked Mr Mark Jones, the Director of the V&A about the efforts which had been made to raise funding, he told us that a range of key arts donors and theatre management groups had been approached on a confidential basis. Potential donors had been deterred by a number of factors, including the fact that the Covent Garden premises were leasehold, that although the location was good, the building needed significant expenditure which would not provide good value for money; and that it was "not capable of making a really good museum".[34] Another major disincentive to donors had been that the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose assessments were seen as rigorous and strategic, had turned down two funding applications: HLF's lack of enthusiasm for the building had been seen as crucial.[35]

27. Mr Jones told us that a number of ideas for the Covent Garden museum had arisen as a result of the consultation and the publicity but that none had a plausible financial or business plan. The trustees had, however, agreed to work with Blackpool Council on a feasibility study into the case for some of the collections going to a new theatre museum in Blackpool as part of the Council's regeneration plan. We understand that the feasibility study will be completed in the spring or early summer.[36]

28. We regret the loss of a dedicated theatre museum based in the heart of London's "theatre-land". We acknowledge that the V&A was hampered in its efforts by the lack of outside financial support and are disappointed that, despite a number of well-known celebrities from the world of theatre supporting the campaign, no significant private donations were forthcoming. We now encourage the V&A to continue to explore the options including a more suitable site which might be more attractive to potential sponsors.


29. Traditionally, governments have maintained that, except for the national museums and galleries, museums are essentially a local responsibility. In the latter decades of the twentieth century very limited amounts of funding were made available by central government to provide purchase funds and some common support services and advice for local museums, but by the turn of the century many regional museums and galleries had reached crisis point with funding widely perceived as being so inadequate and unreliable that they were struggling to survive. Some of them were "in a state of near collapse".[37] In 2000, the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport set up a Regional Museums Task Force "to develop a national strategic framework for regional museums and galleries in England". It had been assumed at the outset that the Task Force would concentrate on the problems of the major regional museums, but the Government agreed that the Task Force should look at the wider issue of how all museums should work together to provide first class services to users.

30. The Task Force proposed a new approach to investment in regional museums and argued that central government investment in some key services would result in long-term benefits for all museums and for the communities they served. The Government accepted the recommendations and committed initial funding for what has become the MLA's flagship programme for regional museums—Renaissance in the Regions.

31. Renaissance in the Regions was set up in 2002 and was designed to transform England's regional museums and make them fit for the 21st century. The programme has been funded by central government investment of £150 million staged between 2002 and 2008, in two phases. Each of the nine English regions has a "hub" of up to five flagship museums and museum services, including some independent museums and university museums as well as local authority services. The intention is for these to share skills and staff with other museums services in their regions. The three Phase One regions (the North East, South West and West Midlands) received a level of funding to deliver effectively across all aspects of the Renaissance programme (though not at 100% funding until 2005-06) while the six Phase Two regions have been funded at a significantly lower level, at 20% of their estimated full funding in 2005-06, rising to 60% by 2007-08.[38] The three priority areas for Renaissance are:

1: to increase and sustain user participation, including:

1a: creating a comprehensive service for school age children;

1b: increasing and diversifying audiences; and

1c: increasing access to knowledge and information aside from exhibitions and displays.

2: to provide benefits to users by developing the organisation and workforce.

3: to provide benefits to users through improving access and use of collections, through better collections development, care and interpretation.[39]

32. It was striking how, throughout the evidence, the impact of the Renaissance programme on the hub museums was described in glowing terms: more was being achieved than had been expected, even with incomplete and phased funding in many cases. We heard that Renaissance had been a "resounding" and "outstanding" success,[40] that it had delivered "fantastic opportunities and benefits",[41] that it had given "an immense and much needed boost to regional museums",[42] that it had "brought about the most significant change in the museum sector in England in a generation",[43] and that it had had the most profound impact on the museum sector of any government initiative in living memory.[44] The enthusiasm was no less in the Phase 2 hubs, although all the hubs emphasised that disparity of funding between Phase 1 and Phase 2 hubs had meant that benefits to Phase 2 museums had been slower to develop, both within the hub partners and the wider museum community and that the potential which the Phase 2 hubs could achieve with full Renaissance funding has yet to be realised[45] Even for Phase 2 hubs, Renaissance was acknowledged as "an outstanding example of how a small amount of funding can demonstrate significant public benefit for our services, our users and our collections". [46]

33. The Renaissance programme has enabled museums to address infrastructure issues and to invest in service improvements that they would have found impossible to deliver from core revenue funding.[47] The number of visits to hub museums has increased by 5.3% since 2002-03, while PSA targets to increase the number of contacts between school age children and regional museums, and to generate additional visits by new users predominantly from social classes C2DE and ethnic minorities, have been exceeded with ease. [48] Nearly 600 new posts will have been created, 188 of them curatorial posts.[49] We were told that MLA had ensured that all the regional hubs adopted a rigorous data collection regime, which was providing a strong evidence base for the work nationally and regionally.[50] MLA could therefore deliver statistics demonstrating what value had been achieved and created with taxpayers' money, making it "almost the perfect Treasury programme".[51] It was not simply a question of counting heads, as the programme was a balance between achieving numerical targets and changing attitudes,[52] but we were told that there is a need to continue the development of accurate qualitative methods of measuring impact such as quality of visits and visitor enjoyment, while some of the benefits are not susceptible to measurement.[53]

34. All the hubs stressed to us how Renaissance had engendered a new sense of partnership within the sector, between regional museums, between them and their local authorities and other funding bodies, between national and regional museums, and between museums and other bodies. The East of England Hub told us that the new partnerships within and between regions, forged by MLA, were "a major strength of Renaissance and have for the first time created a truly national body of regional museums with both regional distinctiveness and a common agenda and purpose".[54] It said that the MLA was shaping a new dynamic regional museum sector, focussed on the needs of the users and that the new partnerships fostered by Renaissance were leading to a greater sharing of professional skills and expertise across the sector, with many joint projects involving formerly separate museums. The Yorkshire Museums Hub told us that, before Renaissance, the museums had "operated as a series of independent fiefdoms" but that Renaissance funding had acted as a catalyst for establishing strategic partnerships across the region so they now had a group of institutions with common goals and the money to implement them: this was the first step towards something much more professional and much more significant—organisational change and a new mindset.[55] We are also encouraged to see the beginnings of relationships between the national museums and non-hub local and specialist museums. We believe that this will bring benefits in developing specialist skills of local curators, and in giving local people increased access to excellence in collections, exhibitions and interpretation, and would like to see this developed further.

35. Another important element of Renaissance funding is that it has enabled hubs to lever in significant amounts of other public and private sector financing. The South East Hub, which is a Phase 2 hub, told us that it had been able to use Renaissance funding directly to lever in nearly £6 million of further funding to support a range of developments.[56] Mr Mark Wood, the Chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) told us that the programme had brought in nearly £300 million of extra lottery funding:[57] the stability of hub museums has also been helped by the fact that in order to become partners they had to have a commitment from their funding bodies that they would maintain their core investment in the regions. The MLA told us of feedback from all the hubs demonstrating that, in tight budget rounds, that commitment has been an important consideration for any authority or funding body.[58]

36. Alongside the enthusiasm we found unease and apprehension, both about the future of regional museums if the Renaissance funding stream was not sustained beyond 2008 and about the effect of the programme on museums outside the hubs. Hubs emphasized to us that, to have lasting worth, there needs to be a commitment to Renaissance funding beyond 2008 and that any reduction in funding would be detrimental, leading to contraction or even cessation of elements of their programmes, just as they were starting have a significant effect.[59] It was suggested, for example, that the number of school visits and the amount of outreach work would fall, as would the museums' contributions to meeting PSA targets. Hubs warned that programmes now being planned were raising expectations which would not be fulfilled,[60] and that if Renaissance funding disappeared, hub museums would lose both the protection of the funding commitment from their sponsoring bodies and their capacity to lever in additional funding.[61] Investment already made in efficient infrastructure (which would allow new investment to go straight into service delivery) would effectively be thrown away.[62] Witnesses told us that, because of the expectations raised, within the sector and among the visiting public, reduction in funding could lead to a complete loss of confidence, and leave museums in a worse position than they had been before Renaissance; as Renaissance had increased customers' expectations there were fears that, if the programme did not continue, they would be even more dissatisfied than they had been before Renaissance.[63]

37. At our final oral evidence session, representatives of the MLA told us that they agreed with the assessment we had heard from the hubs as to the likely effect if funding were to be cut.[64] They told us that, Renaissance cannot be seen as "a one-off programme where you can just switch the tap off, this would cause enormous damage to regional museums and to those in the hub teams", and that there was recognition all round that Renaissance is an infrastructural investment programme which has long-term impact but is not a short-term programme. Switching the tap off would not simply halt progress, or even just put the sector back into the parlous state it was in before Renaissance injected new life. The sector now looks to the forthcoming comprehensive spending review in the hope that satisfactory future levels of funding will be put in place.

38. Mr David Lammy MP, the Minister for Culture, told us that Renaissance had been "key to a revival of regional identity".[65] He believed that it was not just about funding; it was about capacity, skills, expertise and partnership. In contrast to all the other evidence received, he did not accept that museums would be worse off if the Renaissance programme were cut and considered that the huge and considerable progress in the Phase 1 hubs was now "bedded in" so that "development work could continue". He believed that the cultural identity of the country was important and valued greatly by the public, and that was the case DCMS was making to the Treasury, but he was unwilling to say anything about the progress of negotiations on whether support for the programme would continue.

39. We recommend that funding for the Renaissance in the Regions programme should, at the very least, be sustained in the next Comprehensive Spending Review, enabling museums to fulfil the promise and build on the achievements of the first phases. If this successful and inspiring innovation were to be curtailed half way through the programme it would be a serious waste of achievement and would significantly cut access to museums for schools and other key target groups. DCMS should be in a strong position to secure a continuing budget for Renaissance which may be seen as a "perfect Treasury programme" given its demonstrable impact.

Whether Renaissance has created a two tier structure

40. When the Renaissance hub structure was first introduced, some parts of the sector were concerned that it would create a two tier structure of "haves and have nots". When the Secretary of State addressed the Museums Association Conference in October 2006, she expressed the hope that the sector had been reassured that those concerns had not been well founded and that the benefits of Renaissance were "flowing well beyond the hubs to the sector as a whole".[66] Evidence to this inquiry suggested, nonetheless, that that there was a perception of the sector being divided into the "hubs" and the "hub nots",[67] and that there was some lack of confidence as to whether the programme had the capacity to deliver benefits right across the sector. It may be inevitable that the primary benefits of Renaissance will be for those museums within the hubs,[68] but there was disappointment among some outside that, as far as they were concerned, benefits were not spreading. Bill Ferris, who is chairman of the Association of Independent Museums, as well as being the director of an independent museum which is a hub partner, told us that Renaissance was "a wonderful thing from the 'inside'" but that there was a significant constituency that felt excluded by the Renaissance process. He told us that there had been "a legacy of overblown expectation" at the beginning of the process when the impression had been given that the "trickle-downs" would happen more quickly, and that there was frustration in some areas "that the networking and skilling down is not as actively sought by hub members as it might be".[69] He said that one of the major issues with Renaissance was that there was patchiness across the country, with some brilliant, and some very poor examples.[70] Evidence from university museums presented a very similar picture. There had been some benefits to university museums inside and outside the hubs, but there had been expectations of a greater dispersal of benefit, and there continued to be concerns about "short-termism" and uncertainty about the future of the programme.[71]

41. Mr David Wilson, the Director of the Wordsworth Trust, believed that the MLA tended to lose sight of the non-hub museums and needed to do more to explain how they could benefit, ensuring that they were brought into the programme, and that the "trickle-down" became more of a flood.[72] He referred to a perception that the Renaissance in the Regions programme was "actually Renaissance in the Urban Centres".[73] The National Trust told us that it was important that the initiative should now be taken to the next layer of museums which have not yet been reached, and that it would like to see DCMS ensure that future programmes extend their impact beyond the current beneficiaries to small and medium museums, particularly in rural areas.[74] The Group of Small Local Authority Museums (GoSLAM) told us that the impact of Renaissance on public service delivery among smaller Local Authority museums has been described as "small to non-existent" and that it was as yet no substitute for the direct support that was once available from the Area Museum Councils.[75]

42. Keith Merrin, the Director of Bede's World, a medium-sized independent museum, believed very strongly that the Renaissance programme had created a two tier sector which, he said, was not surprising, as in any industry sector the injection of millions of pounds of public money into some of its participants, but not others, is bound to create an imbalance. He suggested that museums the size of Bede's World were not easy to fit into the structure. The advice and training which hubs could offer to smaller museums which lacked expertise in education, marketing or fund-raising seemed irrelevant to a museum which had a long track record of delivery and a team of professional staff. He also said that since much of the hub work was programme delivery, such as growing education visits to hub museums or outreach work, its main impact was competitive: the extra public funding enhanced the fundraising capacity of the hub museums, as well as enabling them to offer free services, which other museums could not afford to do. He suggested that "it would seem logical when investing such a large amount of money in some elements of the regional museums community to measure what effect this is having not just on those museums that receive the new investment but on all museums in terms of visitor numbers, income etc."[76]

43. We commend both DCMS and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council for their championship of the Renaissance programme and what it has made possible for regional museums to achieve.

44. DCMS should monitor the impact of the Renaissance programme on the museums sector as a whole, not only on those museums which are direct recipients of Renaissance funding. We are concerned that the evidence of benefits flowing out from the hubs is patchy at best, and that a two tier structure is developing in some places. DCMS should ensure that the MLA addresses the needs of the whole community of museums, meeting the criticisms of those museums which see themselves as being excluded from the benefits.


45. Local authorities provide the second largest amount of public funds for museums and galleries, spending over £189 million in 2002-03.[77] Funding for local cultural provision is paid to local authorities as part of the Local Government Financial Settlement, but the amounts to be spent on cultural services are not ring fenced within this grant.[78] Local authorities are under no statutory obligation to provide museum services, with the result that museum provision varies among the 410 principal local authorities in England and Wales, about a third of which provide no museum service at all.[79] Those which do fund their own museums appear to be finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the necessary expenditure when competing with statutory services. Some local authorities provide joint services in partnership with other local authorities and other institutions. One example is Tyne & Wear Museums which is a partnership including five local authorities and Newcastle University.[80]

Trust status

46. 23 local authorities have set up charitable trusts to be responsible for their museums and galleries, and three councils have outsourced their operations to combined culture and leisure trusts. The details of these trust models vary considerably, with some museums or museum services having been transferred as going concerns, with all their assets, while in others only operational responsibility for museums has been devolved.[81]

47. Sheffield and York City Councils are among the local authorities which have set up charitable trusts to be responsible for their museums and galleries. The chief executives of both trusts described to us with enormous enthusiasm the benefits which trust status has brought to their services.[82] The City of Sheffield has more than ten years' experience of securing the management of its cultural and sporting assets through a series of trusts, including the Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust, while York Museums Trust has been responsible for managing the city's museums only since 2002.[83] In both cases the collections continue to be owned by the city which has devolved their management to a charitable trust, whose principal assets are its staff with their knowledge and experience.[84]

48. One of the more obvious benefits of charitable trust status is that it may improve money-making prospects because private and charitable donors may be more likely to give to a charitable trust than to a local authority.[85] Charitable status attracts relief from business rates. However, it may be that it is the less tangible benefits which make the most difference. Ms Janet Barnes, Chief Executive of the York Museums Trust, told us that the main advantage for the York Museums Trust was in being a stand-alone organisation outside the council: this gave the service an important voice in the community and more authority than was possible for a service run from within the council.[86] She added that, with trust status, the service was able to be more focused in its thinking and planning, and more flexible, and that the trust enjoyed lines of communication at the highest level with the council, with which there was still a strong link—it continued to provide a third of the running costs. She described trust status as "marvellous". One of the impressive achievements of York Museums Trust, and the envy of others, has been the recent agreement with the council for inflation-linked stable funding for the next six years.[87]

49. Nick Dodd, Chief Executive of the Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust endorsed her views, adding that the trust was more efficient and effective in delivering the same amount of service, because of the inherited or bureaucratic inefficiencies of museums operated within local authorities. He said that trust status made it possible for the service to be more flexible, to take risks and do things it could not otherwise do, because it brought in a wider range of civic people (on the board and in an advisory capacity), giving the added benefit of a high level of management and a high level of leadership skills across the organisation.[88] He told us that trusts were created to have a single focus and a single purpose and were designed to be "professionally selfish" for their sector, with the result that the "entrusted" sector did get a better deal, and the councils also benefited.[89] But although the financial advantages of putting facilities under trust management did give an impetus for change, he did not think that should be the main driving reason for adopting this model, and he considered that a fixation on cost reduction and financial efficiency was a poor basis for a constructive relationship between the local authority and the trust.[90]

50. The evidence from the two trusts bears out the observations made by Sir Nicholas Goodison in 2004, that trust status can transform the leadership of a museum and can release energy and enthusiasm, because the directors and staff are no longer part of the local authority's hierarchy.[91] Following Sir Nicholas's recommendation that the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council should make information about trust status available to other museums and local authorities, MLA published a report 'Moving to Museum Trusts: Learning from Experience, Advice to Museums in England & Wales', in March 2006. The report describes the strengths and weaknesses of trust governance, and the financial, legal and operational implications. It found that becoming a trust was in itself no guarantee of better governance or management and that although there were some significant advantages to be gained by moving to trust status, the reasons cited for moving to the status had tended to be reactions to outside pressures (such as a response to funding difficulties) rather than a direct desire to explore improving the service through different delivery mechanisms.[92] The report concluded that although museums devolved to trusts had done well in attracting additional funding, most of it had come from public funding sources available to other museums, and relatively little effort had been put into cultivating private donors.

51. A particular issue covered in the report related to those cases where councils had outsourced all their culture and leisure functions—including museums—to a single trust. The conclusion was that in those circumstances the benefits and disadvantages experienced by the museum in the local authority were merely transplanted to the new arrangements: a small museum service's profile, recognition and status within a large culture and leisure trust were not unlike those of museum services within a large local authority.[93] We were told that some local authorities were exploring or had explored the trust option for their museums,[94] also that some smaller museums saw no possibility of their benefiting from trust status, simply because they were too small for the structure to be viable.[95] We are also aware of reports that one trust has recently failed. Harrow Museum closed as a result of the insolvency of Arts Culture Harrow, to which Harrow Council had transferred the operation of its arts and museums services in 2001, but the council has now reopened the museum.[96]

52. During our visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow City Council's executive committee approved a plan to transfer services including museums, libraries and leisure centres to one large charitable trust. Ms Bridget McConnell, the Council's Strategic Director of Culture & Leisure, told us that there had been some controversy about the proposals because of the large scale of the proposed new trust, but she considered that it was the scale of the operation which would make it work well, with the same people continuing to do the same jobs. She said that the new structure would avoid the nightmare of local authority annual budgets and would enable the services to plan with a longer term perspective, maintaining the high quality of management which had been achieved only recently. She pointed out that, not so long ago the service had been described by the Heritage Lottery Fund as providing "the worst example of civic neglect". Much had been learned in Glasgow by consulting York Museums Trust about its experience, and we sensed an air of confidence that the new status would be beneficial and free from disadvantage.

53. We agree that trust status should not be regarded as a panacea for the ills of an ailing local authority museum service and that it may be wholly unsuitable for some museum services. Local authorities should not see trust status simply as a cost-saving solution for the provision of a public service. However, we have been greatly impressed at how the trust model has been effectively used to inspire leadership, raise the profile and sharpen the focus of museum services in some larger authorities. We strongly recommend that any large local authority museum service motivated to seek improvement should look at the successful models operating in Sheffield and York.


54. Like the nationals, local authority museums have had to operate in a climate of rising costs but, while the nationals have mostly been operating on standstill budgets, many local authority museums have seen real cuts in their core funding, even by those local authorities with a high level of commitment to museum services.[97] Not only is there no statutory obligation for local authorities to provide museum services, but those which elect to do so have no statutory obligation to maintain the museums and galleries under their care, a situation which Sir Nicholas Goodison and others have described as "odd".[98] We were told that, being discretionary services, museums faced increasingly strong competition from other local authority service areas where a statutory obligation to provide services to a specified level existed, and that as the budgetary pressures on local authorities continue to increase, the non-statutory services are left particularly vulnerable.[99] We were also told that reorganisation within local authorities had often weakened the position of museums, leaving them easy targets for funding cuts.[100]

55. The inevitable consequence of chronic under-funding of local authority museums over many years was a general decline in services and stewardship across the whole country and even closure of some museums. In recent years news of impending museum closures has become depressingly common. Museums have closed in Daventry and in Bury St Edmunds and we were told that the museum in Berwick was under threat.[101] Even since the beginning of this year we have heard of more local authorities announcing cutbacks and closures in their museum services. Waltham Forest Council has said that it will reduce the opening times of the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum.[102] Wandsworth Council decided to close Wandsworth Museum to save £400,000 a year, which reports said would result in the dispersal of its 10,000 objects to local libraries, schools and churches, and the redundancy of 14 staff.[103] The decision was widely criticised, and we understand that a benefactor has come forward. Bury Metropolitan Borough Council's decision to sell a Lowry painting from its museum's collection also attracted widespread condemnation and has resulted in the museum losing its accredited status with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. While this may affect the museum's power to draw in non-council funding, it amounts to virtually no sanction on the council.

56. We find it incongruous that no sanction at all should apply to local authorities which choose to close museums and disperse the collections under their care, whether the motive is to save money or to make money, or for any other reason. Museums cannot perform adequately if they exist in a climate of threat to the collections and to the staff. We believe that collections are held in trust by councils on behalf of the community and that it is right that there should be sanctions for those museums that sell parts of their collections purely to meet the financial needs of the Council; but we recognise that over time it could be beneficial for some of the smaller local authority museum services to merge, making for stronger units, provided that this safeguards the collections, sustains staffing and enhances access and the service to the public.

57. Communities do value their museums, and rightly so. Indeed, there is some evidence that even people who do not actively use the services themselves do nevertheless place a high value on them.[104] According to a MORI survey conducted for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in 2004, 82% of people believe it is important for their local town or city to have its own museum or art gallery.[105] We heard that many local authorities were investing in their museum services,[106] but very few local authority services have any acquisition budget at all. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery told us that it was unusual in that it does maintain an acquisitions budget; although it has reduced significantly over the last 10 years and is under increasing pressure due to the need to address overall operational issues such as maintenance, it is presently set at £16,000 per annum and is dependent upon the generation of matched funding for its release.[107]

58. The Institute of Conservation (ICON) suggested to us that the introduction of a statutory responsibility for local authorities towards museums (similar to the existing provision for libraries) should be considered, as a means of strengthening the position of the museums. However, there was no apparent expectation that such a major step was likely to be taken, at least in the immediate future.[108] Recent changes to the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) have increased visibility and demonstrated increasing acceptance of the importance of cultural services within the public sector.[109] The sector has warmly welcomed the inclusion of museums accreditation as a performance indicator within the culture service assessment for county and single tier local authorities. Witnesses told us that the performance framework did have a major influence on allocation of resources within the local authority so that investment would be more likely in areas addressed by CPA, but the performance indicators (with the exception of accreditation) were described as being "primitive" and "crude", as they focused on "that which can easily be counted rather than that which really counts".[110] The Group of Small Local Authority Museums (GoSLAM) did not consider that CPA was yet playing its part, pointing out that accreditation was not yet an indicator for district councils and that there was no other indicator that places a clear value on heritage rather than general outreach and community engagement work.[111] DCMS told us that, working with the MLA, the Audit Commission and IDeA, it was keen to see the development of further indicators that have the support of both local government and the sectors concerned.[112]

59. We recommend that appropriate performance indicators should be drawn up to encourage and assist local authorities in supporting their museum services.

University museums

60. Most university museums are supported entirely through discretionary allocations which the host universities make out of their core teaching and research grants. Since 2001, the larger museums—about a third of them—have also received funding administered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).[113] This programme, which has a current annual value of £9.9 million, has enabled the museums it supports to raise standards of stewardship, research, academic support, public programmes and access. In January 2005 AHRC issued a statement on the future provision of core support for university museums and galleries: in line with HEFCE's policy of reducing the number of small and discrete lines of funding to higher education institutions, the funding will return to HEFCE's core grant after August 2009, when its support for the AHRC's museums and galleries programme would therefore come to an end. Funding arrangements for university museums and galleries from that date, and the mechanisms through which any such support might be provided, will be subject to decisions to be taken by the HEFCE Board nearer the time.[114] HEFCE has indicated that it will no longer earmark funding for the museums.[115]

61. This is seen as a significant threat to the financial stability of university museums.[116] Oxford University Museums Service told us that the AHRC core funding of £3.3 million for its four museums was not only their absolute core funding but that it was also the platform which made everything else possible: loss of this stable source of funding would almost certainly result in the destruction of much of what it has been possible to achieve by way of raising the profile of university museums within their parent institutions and with the general public'.[117]

62. The University Museums Group (UMG) suggested to us that university museums' funding was arguably more precarious than that of other public museums.[118] Like local authority museums, university museums are discretionary services, facing strong competition for funding from other services which the host institutions must provide.[119] The Group told us that since most universities did not see the provision of public museums as their 'core business' their museums and collections were particularly vulnerable in the current climate of under-funding of the HE sector.[120] Moreover, Ms Nichola Johnson, the Director of the Group suggested that the effect on university museums would be "much more dramatic than in any other area of the museum sector if the Renaissance funding peters out". If the funding is not sustained "then all the different practices and the different improvements that have been set up will be negated and, university museums will be forced back into their own resources again".[121]

63. Although some university museums may have had a reputation as being more friendly to scholars than to the public,[122] their role does extend beyond that of the university, delivering benefits to local users and drawing visitors from far afield to their very significant collections. In many cases the visiting public will hardly be aware that their governance and funding arrangements are different from those of other museums open to the public, and the university museums are becoming increasingly acknowledged and important partners within the sector. When we visited the North East Regional Hub our hosts were just as proud of the plans for the Great North Museum (which will bring together outstanding university collections) as of what had already been achieved at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. Dr O'Hanlon, the Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, told us that in 2005, two of Oxford University's museums had won The Guardian award for the most family-friendly museums in the country, "which is something of a turnaround for university museums".[123]

64. The University Museums Group recognised that DCMS had no direct remit of responsibility for university museums but told us that historically they have been both discouraged and disadvantaged by their relative invisibility to central government.[124] They felt that their special function should be reflected in their funding arrangements and they were concerned that they were not benefiting from the kind of cross-departmental working (in their case with DfES, as paymaster of HEFCE) which was being advocated by Government. They suggested that, as overall guardian of the nation's cultural heritage and of the Designated Collections scheme, DCMS had a moral and public obligation to act within Government on behalf of their continued survival and well-being.[125]

65. We were disturbed to hear just how precarious university museums' funding was, with the possibility that core funding for some major and much loved and valued museums might simply be discontinued in the very near future. Museums cannot be expected to fulfil their potential under such uncertain conditions, and we would urge DCMS to explore with DfES to find a way of ensuring that HEFCE funding to university museums continues and that the museums' funding base is strengthened.


Heritage Lottery Fund

66. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was set up in 1994 as one of the distributors of proceeds from the sale of Lottery tickets. It initially received one fifth of the good causes income from the National Lottery, and since 1998, has received one sixth in parallel with those benefiting arts, charities and sport. In June 2006 the Secretary of State announced that the division of money between sport, arts, film and heritage good causes for the period 2009-19 would remain unchanged, after an extensive public consultation had shown strong support for the present distribution. That decision has been widely welcomed. Over the last twelve years a third of HLF's total funding (over £1.2 billion) was awarded to 2,186 museum and gallery projects, including more than:

67. In that time, over £406 million has been awarded to the 22 DCMS-funded museums, and more than £295 million has gone to support projects in regional museums and galleries. HLF told us that the unprecedented levels of investment brought by HLF had "wrought enormous change in institutions across the UK, large and small, creating improved housing for collections, modern and user-focused displays and facilities and opportunities for fresh interpretation".[127] Hundreds of other grants had enabled museums and archives to enhance their educational offer, to explore new means of engagement and reach new audiences.[128] HLF told us that although it has begun the task of reversing the legacy of decades of under-investment in the nation's heritage infrastructure, the remaining need is immense.[129] The HLF has funded eight of the top ten of the UK's most visited museums.[130]

68. In our Report on the built heritage we found a near-universal welcome in submissions for HLF's efforts, many of which had funded projects which were beyond the scope of others.[131] We found the same enthusiasm in submissions to this inquiry. We heard that it had been "the salvation of many historic museum buildings and that it had created an improved infrastructure from which to deliver enhanced services",[132] which echoed the earlier description of the Fund as a "lifeline". The East of England Museums' Hub said that the creation of the Heritage Lottery Fund had had a significant impact on under-funded capital investment programmes and that all its hub sites had received (or were in the process of obtaining) major capital investment primarily from the HLF.[133] This was reflected all round the country, as we saw for ourselves in Tyneside and in Glasgow. Leeds City Council Museums and Galleries said that lottery funding had been key to museum development over the last decade,[134] and Manchester City Council also said that the HLF continues to provide essential funding to address capital needs.[135] GoSLAM said that the HLF grants had become harder to obtain, but they remained the obvious first choice for major capital projects.[136]

69. In October 2006 HLF announced that it was developing new proposals to help museums and galleries with an investment of £3million to be allocated in 2007-08, to support acquisitions, the development of curatorial skills, research and increased activities for the public: grants will be available from £50,000 up to a maximum of £200,000. The scheme was launched in May 2007.[137]

70. Nevertheless there are three factors which will impact on the amount HLF will be able to award in new grants between 2008 and 2013.[138] First, although for many years HLF has been able to over-commit on the basis that there would inevitably be a time lag between money being received, awarded to projects and drawn down by grant recipients, it is reaching the point when it does not feel able to continue to increase the amount by which is it over-committed.[139] Secondly, the Lottery contribution to the public sector funding package for the 2012 Olympics Games will result in the transfer of £161.2 million from HLF to the Olympic Distributor, plus the diversion of sales to the special Olympic lottery games, mostly in the three years leading up to 2012.[140] Thirdly, the National Lottery Act 2006 has changed the way that interest earned by Lottery Distributors on their balances is distributed, a change which according to the National Audit Office would impact most on the HLF, and would have resulted in HLF receiving 53 per cent less investment income on the 2003-04 figures.[141] HLF expects that these factors may impact particularly on high-value acquisitions of cultural property.[142]

71. Looking further ahead, there may be scope for the outstanding needs of the museum sector to be met by the Heritage Lottery Fund if and when the funds removed from it are reinstated. The Secretary of State is reported as having said: "the Lottery would have first call on the proceeds on the sale of land after the Olympics. See it more as a loan to the Olympics".[143]

72. We welcome the concept that funds diverted from the heritage good cause to pay for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games should be regarded as a "loan" and that the Lottery would have first call on the sale of land after the Olympics, so that the heritage sector may look forward to being reimbursed the funds it has foregone, out of the proceeds of the Olympic investment. We invite DCMS to confirm that this is the Government's intention. We remain deeply concerned about the impact of such a substantial diversion of funds on the ability to fund heritage projects over the next six years.

73. We urge that no further sums be removed from the Heritage Lottery Fund or other lottery distributors if the costs of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games exceed those set out by the Secretary of State on 15 March 2007.

National Heritage Memorial Fund

74. The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) was set up under the National Heritage Act 1980 as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the United Kingdom. It provides funds to secure items of outstanding interest which are of importance to the national heritage and under threat of loss to the nation. In 1980, proceeds of the National Land Fund were passed to the NHMF which has since received annual grant-in-aid ranging from £2 million to £23 million. In the year before the National Lottery was introduced (1993-94) the grant-in-aid was £12 million. NHMF's grant-in-aid has been £5 million a year since 2001-02 but increases to £10 million this year.[144]

75. Since its creation NHMF has made over 650 grants totalling over £135 million for the acquisition of cultural property of outstanding importance to the national heritage including:

  • over £56 million for works of art;
  • over £48 million for other historic objects (including for industrial, maritime and transport objects);
  • over £30 million for archive and special library collections.[145]

It is acknowledged as the "fund of last resort for the nation's heritage" although we were told that it does not have enough money to respond to the many claims it receives, and is not adequate to meet the demands for major acquisitions.[146] While the Fund's resources have gone down, the cost of acquisitions has gone up. The price of Turner's Blue Rigi alone exceeded the NHMF grant for the year.

76. As a fund of last resort NHMF has two important roles: either helping to bring about closure of an acquisition when most of the money has been found or, for items of the highest cost, providing an early indication of support that makes a fund-raising campaign possible.[147] The trustees can take decisions at short notice, which makes the NHMF an important potential source of funds for objects that come unpredictably on to the market. Its responsiveness and "light touch" make it possible for the NHMF to react rapidly in support in circumstances which demand prompt action.[148]

77. In 2004 Sir Nicholas Goodison found a universal view among respondents to his consultation that the funds available to the National Heritage Memorial Fund should be restored and increased.[149] He recommended that NHMF's grant-in-aid should be increased to at least £20 million per annum. In evidence to this inquiry he stressed the "at least".[150] HLF has welcomed the government's commitment to double NHMF's annual grant to £10 million from 2007-08, but noted that this is still £3.5 million less than the grant in 1985: in consequence NHMF would continue to remain fettered in its fundamental role, and will only be able to deal with a fraction of the cases where its support would be appropriate. HLF urges the Government to accept the recommendation of the Goodison Report of that NHMF's annual grant should be raised to £20 million.[151]

78. We agree that the effective reduction of grant-in-aid to the National Heritage Memorial Fund (from £12 million in 1993) risks undermining its purpose at a time when the cost of the acquisitions it was intended to support have been rising dramatically, and we recommend that it should be increased to a level at which it will be a meaningful last resort - to at least £20 million.

The DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund

79. The DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund allocates £4 million a year to national and regional museums for capital projects to improve the quality of displays, public spaces, environmental controls and access for disabled visitors. Awards in 2006 included £150,000 to the Natural History Museum for renovation and improvement of the permanent Mineral Gallery, with improved access and environmental controls and "Changing Faces", a new and enhanced visitor experience for South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.[152]

Purchase funds

80. The Fund for the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) supports the acquisition and/or conservation of a movable object or group of objects illustrating the history of any branch of science or technology. MLA allocates the PRISM Fund £250,000 per annum; since 2000, nearly £1.5 million has been awarded.[153]

81. The V&A purchase grant fund is a government fund administered by MLA in partnership with the V&A. It contributes to the purchase of objects relating to the arts, literature and history by museums, galleries, record repositories and specialist libraries in England and Wales. Through the acquisitions it supports, the fund aims to help and develop the quality and standards of regional collections for the understanding and enjoyment of the public. The annual allocation for this fund is £1 million and, since 2000, over £6 million has been awarded.[154]

82. Museum collections which have been identified as being of outstanding national and international importance under the Designation scheme are also eligible for grants from The Designation Challenge Fund, which is now administered by the MLA through Renaissance in the Regions. Grants totalling £3.8 million were awarded to projects running to the end of March 2006 to enhance 39 designated collections.[155]


Charitable foundations

83. The Art Fund (formerly the National Art Collections Fund) is a charity, supported by over 80,000 members, which gives grants towards the purchase of works of art for the nation's collections. The charity offers around £4 million in grants annually to museums and galleries around the UK. In the last 10 years it has helped UK museums acquire over 380,000 works of art, with grants totalling £30 million. The Contemporary Art Society's Special Collections scheme enabled 15 regional museums to collect contemporary art and craft within a strategic context.[156] Many other charitable foundations, such as the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, provide grants to arts and heritage projects.

Self-generated income

84. Many independent museums are wholly reliant on self-generated income and fundraising, and museums generally have become adept at accessing support from a wide variety of sources. Funding has been secured from the funds described above, from grant-giving agencies and foundations, through regeneration streams, from friends' organisations, through sponsorship, and through commercial activities such as merchandising and catering. DCMS said that the sponsored museums, galleries, archives and libraries had become more experienced in and more efficient at generating income for themselves and now engaged in a wide range of income-generating activities, including both traditional areas such as retailing and catering and more innovative projects.[157]

85. The V&A told us that new and refurbished galleries also offer opportunities for promotion of the museum and, therefore increased income-generation through trading (such as retail, venue hire, and catering) and through sponsorship and donations - in which there is a cycle of success, as a good track record of successful project delivery sustains the Museum's reputation and attracts further funding.[158]

86. In his report on the economic, social and creative impact of the museums in the UK, Tony Travers found that self-generated income to museums and galleries in the study had ranged as high as £200 million a year, including over £100 million in donations and sponsorship, over £100 million in trading income and some £20 million in ticket sales.[159] The figures suggested that it was difficult to rely on donations and sponsorship as a continuous and predictable income source and it would not be possible to rely on them for much more than 10-15% of museum income, while for most of the regional institutions and the smaller national ones, such income would generally be measured in hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum, not millions.[160] He found that institutions were earning a solid income from trading services, averaging a contribution of around 10% of gross income. Trading income to the museums included in his report had risen by over 100% between 1997-98 and 2005-06. As he said, in many cities and towns, museum or gallery coffee shops and restaurants are elegant and attractive features that, because of their association with culture, are able to offer an alternative to more traditional locations, but it was "important to state that museums and galleries also exist for rather different purposes than running catering and other trading facilities". That caution was echoed by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which said that one feature of the impact of inadequate funding "is that in developing an income stream, space has been taken from exhibiting to give yet more space for retail or catering functions, such as at the Science Museum".[161]

87. We saw a shining example of what museums can achieve by way of capital fund-raising when we visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. The Kelvingrove Refurbishment Appeal was set-up in 2002 to raise voluntary contributions from trusts, companies and individuals towards the £27.9 million refurbishment of Kelvingrove. The appeal raised £12.75 million, which was £8 million more than the original target, and had enabled the museum to include in the refurbishment work which it had wanted to do but had not included in its core refurbishment plan. The names of those who contributed have been permanently displayed on the museum's "donor wall".

88. We commend museums for their efforts and achievements in generating income in an increasingly competitive environment. We recognise that the potential for self-generated income is necessarily limited and that museums should not be asked to extend their trading activities to the point where sight of their fundamental purpose may be lost. We congratulate Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on all that has been achieved at the museum and in particular the notable success of its fundraising strategy. We urge DCMS to examine what lessons can be learned, for other institutions from Kelvingrove's success in attracting philanthropic donations.

89. Most independent museums and many local authority museums depend on entry charges for their continued existence, but that is not the case for the sponsored museums. Some of them, including the British Museum, have never charged for entry. Others, such as the V&A and the National Maritime Museum, did offer free entry until the 1980s, when they introduced compulsory admission charges. Since December 2001 entry to all the DCMS sponsored museums has been free, although they may make charges for special exhibitions. Free entry was made possible by DCMS providing compensation for lost income for its sponsored museums which had been charging for admission and by modifications to the VAT regime so that museums which did not charge could nevertheless recover their input VAT. The scheme for the refund of VAT incurred in relation to the provision of free admission was extended in 2005 to university museums. The result in terms of increased visitor numbers to the national museums is well known. Statistics published in December 2006 showed that visits to the museums which had charged for admission had increased by an average of 83% since the museums had introduced free entry: visits to the V&A, the Natural History Museum and National Museums Liverpool had increased by more than 100%. At the same time there had been an overall increase of 8% in visits to the museums which had always been free, but while visits to one of them (Tate Britain) were up by 57%, the number of visits to three of the fourteen "always free" museums had fallen.[162]

Table 1: Number of Visits to the Former Charging Museums and Galleries
MuseumYear 0
Dec 2000-Nov 2001
%increase between Year 0 and Year 1 %increase between Year 0 and Year 5 Year 5
Dec 2005-Nov 2006
Imperial War Museum 633,49811 12708,137
Museum of London303,305 2830 392,840
Museum of Science & Industry (Manchester) 292,95264 224363,802
National Maritime Museum London (Greenwich) 907,33734 721,557,249
National Museums Liverpool 694,19780 1381,650,392
National Railway Museum, York 543,35936 55840,387
Science Museum London 1,308,763101 812,363,432
Natural History Museum 1,657,12481 1123,509,195
Natural History Museum (Tring) 65,15329 81113,986
Royal Armouries Leeds* and Fort Nelson 296,65429 2303,542
V&A (London)1,117,336 112122 2,481,051
Total7,817,678 6983 14,327 693

Table 2: Number of Visits to the Always Free Museums and Galleries
MuseumYear 0 Dec 2000-Nov 2001


% increase between Year 0 and Year 1 % increase between Year 0 and Year 5 Year 5 Dec 2005-Nov 2006
British Museum London 4,637,439 -1% 1%4,843,384
Geffrye Museum London 83,353 -3%  -11%74,553
Horniman Museum London 112,54087% 220%360,341
Imperial War Museum North, Manchester n/an/a n/a232,907
National Gallery London 5,022,000-20% -13%4,380,000
National Media Museum, Bradford 888,383-10% -25%662,409
National Portrait Gallery London 1,260,02918% 25%1,570,802
Sir John Soane's Museum London 85,7540% 4%89,329
Tate Britain London 994,32418% 57%1,562,761
Tate Modern London 3,619,61327% 31%4,741,617
Tate Liverpool621,419 -19%-12% 552,107
Tyne and Wear Museums  1,407,153-8% 6%1,485,405
V&A Museum of Childhood London 174,71111% n/an/a
Wallace Collection 227,702-1% 1%230,848
TOTAL19,129,420 2%8% 20,786,463

90. Free entry to the sponsored museums has been acclaimed as a "huge success",[163] with a 70% increase in the number of child visitors, increases in educational use, and increased use of the museums by black and minority ethnic groups and by other non-traditional museum audiences. But it is important to remember that free entry is not "universal". It has been described as being for "the lucky few" museums,[164] and there have been suggestions that it may have an adverse impact on parts of the sector. In its 2002 inquiry on National Museums: Funding and Free Admission, our predecessor Committee heard evidence that, in some cases, resentment and hostility had been aroused by the continued practice of charging, when the impression had been given that "all museums are free now".[165] Evidence to this inquiry suggested that that impression persists and that public expectation of free entry has actually increased.[166]

91. We found a wider perception that subsidised competition from free entry museums had damaged the rest of the sector, resulting in a loss of income and a drop in visitor numbers. The Waterways Trust told us that it had "clear evidence of a step change down in visitor numbers of about 19%" in the year that free entry was introduced for two nationally funded museums which were in direct competition with two of its own museums.[167] Other local authority and independent museums which cannot afford not to charge for admission lacked statistics, but suggested that there was an impact, particularly in the education market where the nationals and hub museums were investing heavily, and non-charging museums were "poaching" visitors and school groups.[168] There was a sense of frustration that there was no sign of any attempt to measure, let alone compensate, for the adverse impact on the others, of investment which has generated a rightly celebrated success for selected museums.[169] This echoes what was said in the context of the Renaissance programme about the imbalance created by injecting public money into a selected part of a sector.[170]

92. The Waterways Trust told us that the liabilities of managing its publicly owned assets outstripped their income earning potential despite improved customer service and commercial performance, and that DCMS had acted to safeguard other collections which had faced similar pressures, including the Coal Mining Museum for England and the Peoples History Museum, both of which now enjoyed government funding, offered free entry and had seen their visitor numbers increase twofold. Its estimate was that £450,000 per annum would enable it to offer free entry, which would extend its reach to new audiences and open up education and learning opportunities.[171]

93. We recognise the achievements which the sponsored museums have been able to make through offering free entry, but more needs to be done to ensure that their success is not being achieved at the expense of museums which rely on entry charges for their continued existence. We recommend that research should be undertaken to determine exactly what effect the free entry policy has had on the sector as a whole and that a way should be found to support museums which suffer.

Gift Aid

94. Since 2000, charities have been able to benefit from Gift Aid, which allows them to claim back tax relief on donations made by UK taxpayers. Many museums and other charitable visitor attractions introduced schemes which (instead of entry charges) offered day admission in return for a donation which attracts Gift Aid. In 2004 the Treasury threatened to close this unintended "loophole" but instead, after lobbying, it modified the rules. From April 2006 donations in lieu of admission charges are only eligible for Gift Aid if either (a) the donation is at least 10% more than the usual admission charge or (b) it allows unlimited admission for at least a year.

95. Reports suggest that many regional museums have opted to introduce annual memberships, which allow them to reclaim basic rate income tax on the donations and may provide "spin-off" benefits for local people who can return as many times as they like.[172] The National Trust (whose annual membership allows free entry to all its properties and attracts Gift Aid) is piloting the new +10% scheme at some of its properties.[173]

96. The Museums Association said that although the new arrangements were still bedding down, there were already indications that the changes to Gift Aid would prove to have had a significant negative impact on the finances of independent museums.[174] Evidence to this inquiry suggested that the changes had enabled some independent museums to increase their income, while others had been adversely affected. The Chairman of the Association of Independent Museums stressed the importance of Gift Aid to independent museums.[175] He said that in his own museum's case (the historic dockyard at Chatham), the income through Gift Aid had gone up about 70% with the new arrangements because the museum had had the confidence to invest in "good till technology" that did not allow the front of house member of staff to go beyond a certain point without asking the question: "Are you a UK taxpayer?" Gift Aid had been worth £100,000 in 2006, amounting to 10% of turnover, which was critical. The annual ticketing had also allowed the museum to engage even better with the community, with local people using the site every weekend, whereas before they had had to pay every time. Some venues had been very successful, but it was not always easy for museums to link the extra 10% to a project which would appeal to people and justify the extra outlay in their minds. But he added that the complexity of the new system was "a pain" and had put a number of AIM members off implementing them. He said that "the jury was out" but that the picture might be clearer in about six months' time. Ms Olivia Morris, Policy and Campaigns Officer at the National Trust agreed that the new system was difficult and thought it unfortunate that the government had seen museums' use of Gift Aid as a loophole.[176]

97. We welcome the Treasury's decision to modify Gift Aid rules rather than take away the benefit altogether, and we are pleased to see that some museums have been able to continue benefiting under new rules. We encourage MLA to investigate what effect the change has had through the sector with a view to offering support and guidance to museums which have been deterred by the complexity of the new rules.


98. In her keynote speech to the Museums Association Conference on 23 October 2006, the Secretary of State said that the 2012 Olympics would be the opportunity of a lifetime—not just in London, but all over Britain—and that no one should see it as a threat.[177] It was very clear from the evidence to this inquiry that the sector does see the Olympics as a unique opportunity but also sees it as a very serious threat. We found wide acknowledgment that the Olympics would be an exciting and important project for the whole country, providing huge opportunities for the cultural sector to "showcase the very best of our cultural activity to a global audience and to create a lasting cultural legacy".[178] The MLA, which saw the Olympics as a "once-in-a-lifetime chance for the sector to work collectively to position itself as a major resource for the cultural programme", told us that its engagement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) had made it possible to encourage institutions right across the country to see the value in being part of it. MLA had received over 100 responses to its consultation on Olympic opportunities for museums, libraries and archives, and 80% of those institutions had indicated that they would be actively engaged in contributing to the Cultural Olympiad which will begin in 2008. The MLA told us that LOCOG had been quite enthusiastic about the potential for staging activities and events around the country based on museums and was hopeful that some funding might come for this from LOCOG's relatively modest budget which covers educational and cultural activities.[179]

99. There was, however, some scepticism about whether opportunities for arts and heritage organisations to take part in Olympic-related programmes would have much impact beyond London and some parts of the south-east.[180] The overall picture which emerged from the evidence was of a sector apprehensive that a wonderful opportunity would simply be missed because, to pay for the Olympics, resources would be diverted away from an already under-funded sector just at the time when investment was most needed. The sector feels that it is being asked to do more for less money:[181] it is being exhorted to show what it can do and generate a lasting legacy for the nation, not only without any additional or dedicated funding streams with which to do it, but with substantially reduced funding.[182] As Ms Virginia Tandy, the President of the Museums Association, put it, we "cannot do a cultural Olympiad on a shoestring and a sporting Olympiad on significant funds. It will not work."[183]

100. When we took evidence for this inquiry the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was anticipating losses of income, based on DCMS estimates, of £75 million less in lottery ticket sales and up to £68 million less as a result of changes in the allocation of Lottery proceeds, mostly in the three years leading up to 2012.[184] So when, in March 2007, the Secretary of State announced that there would be an additional allocation of £675 million of Lottery money to help fund the 2012 Games, we asked the HLF to let us know what the impact on HLF funding would be. HLF told us that there would be a further deduction from income of £90 million, so that the total cash loss from heritage to the Olympics would be £161.2 million plus the diversion of resources through the special Olympics Lottery games.[185] HLF has acknowledged that the further deduction was a blow, which would seriously reduce HLF's grant-making for the foreseeable future, [186] making it impossible for the HLF to support major projects, like Kelvingrove and the transformation of the British Museum, as it had done in the past.[187] The Chairman of the MLA said that the cuts "put at risk the opportunity to showcase our country and create a legacy to the Games". [188]

101. Diversion of lottery money is not the only way in which the Olympics will affect funding for the cultural sector. As LOCOG is seeking to raise substantial funds from the private sector for the Olympics, museums see it as inevitable that this funding will be sought from the same limited group of major sponsors which now support them, and that the increased competition will be weighted against them because of the Olympics' high profile and priority.[189] Cuts in government funding will also reduce museums' capacity to leverage in other funding, making it materially harder to raise private funds or encourage private gifts.[190] The V&A's impression was that instead of being a "call to arms" for culture, the 2012 Olympics were diverting resources away from culture—not only funds, but also the time and attention of public bodies,[191] and the Tate observed that it would be highly unfortunate if the sporting celebrations in east London in the summer of 2012 were to be marred by gallery closures and restricted museum services in the heart of the capital.[192]

102. During our visit to Athens we were told that the 2004 Olympics had had no adverse effect on funding for museums in Greece, indeed in the run up to the Olympics, there had been an extensive programme of building new museums, and restoring and upgrading existing museums and sites, at a cost of about 685 million euros. We were particularly impressed to see how it had been possible to provide wheelchair access to the Acropolis, thus enabling members of the Paralympic teams, as well as other visitors, to enjoy one of the world's most famous heritage sites. Nevertheless, our hosts told us that museum visit numbers had dropped during the Olympic year.

103. We share the concerns expressed about the extent to which much needed resources are being diverted away from the sector to pay for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It seems to us perverse that museums should be presented with the outstanding showcasing opportunities which only the Olympics can offer, while the diversion of essential funding will inevitably make it more difficult if not impossible for many of them to make the most of those opportunities. We also question the balance between the funding, for example, for elite athletes to gain more medals, and the damage to our museum infrastructure and ability to illustrate to the world Britain's cultural heritage.

The collections

Adding to the collections

104. It is not axiomatic that all museums must make new acquisitions for their collections. Some are static in their very nature, like the collections at Sir John Soane's Museum and the Wallace Collection,[193] which illustrate the achievements or tastes of individual collectors, or collections which already amount to a complete archive of a particular genre. For most museums, however, a static collection will be a symptom of stagnation. New acquisitions bring new life to our collections. They inspire and educate; they stimulate research and bring new perspectives on existing collections; and they generate excitement, attract new audiences, and enliven education programmes.[194] The National Museum Directors' Conference said that collections need to develop and grow all the time, otherwise they will become irrelevant, uninteresting and less than the sum of their parts, and the collections will lose their relevance and pre-eminence if the major changes in the make-up of this country's population and the major developments of recent decades are not adequately represented in our collections.[195] The V&A said that collections are "the foundation of all we do" and that national museums had a duty to sustain the best collections they can for present and future users.[196] As Sir Nicholas Goodison said, "you have only got to go and look at an exhibition of a new acquisition in a regional museum to see the excitement that it can generate: and the well-chosen acquisition enormously enhances the educational possibilities, the local pride in the collections and so on".[197]

105. Shortly before we announced the terms of reference for this inquiry, the Art Fund published the key findings from a detailed survey of the collecting activity of museums in the UK.[198] The results were depressing. The findings showed that while museums believed that collections must be continually renewed in order for a museum to survive and prosper, nearly all of them said that inadequate core funding was currently a barrier to collecting. Fewer than 10% of museums in the UK allocated a fixed proportion of their core funding each year to collecting and, in 2005, 60% of them had allocated no income to collecting. Nearly three quarters of them said that in the last five years the most common method of acquiring had been through gifts.

106. This despondency was reflected throughout the evidence to the inquiry, from institutions of all sizes. The National Museum Directors' Conference said that the amount of funding provided by Government for acquisitions had shrunk over recent years, while prices for art and antiquities in international markets had risen dramatically.[199] The Director of the V&A has pointed out that the majority of our collections, certainly the most valuable and high status objects in our collections, were acquired before the 1970s. He said that it had been assumed that the availability of assistance from the Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the HLF and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund effectively substituted for the inadequacy of museums' own acquisition funds but that that was no longer the case.[200] Tate told us that "in the past there have been short moments when Tate had real purchasing power, principally in the late 1970s" but that the prices of art works had grown considerably over the last two decades and Tate's, and other national museums', ability to operate in the art market and to build national collections was increasingly difficult in these conditions.[201] Tyne & Wear Museums said that "when even the Director of Tate is cited as complaining that acquisition funds are inadequate, the seriousness of the problem is clear", and that there was little doubt that the buoyancy of the market for fine and applied art had been to the detriment of adding to museum collections —particularly public collections.[202] The Visual Arts and Galleries Association (VAGA) said that it had been clear for a long time that the cost of major works of contemporary art far exceeds the purchasing power of public sector galleries; and once galleries stopped collecting contemporary art, it could be very hard to get a foothold again—to fill gaps or to retain the curatorial expertise.[203] In November 2006, the Art Fund published a league table which compared the purchasing power of the UK's major museums with some of their counterparts abroad. The Art Fund said that the research, the first of its kind, showed that the UK's leading art museums lagged behind other world-class museums when it came to money available to buy new works of art for their collections.[204]

Table 3: Spending on acquisitions by major international museums 2004-05
MuseumTotal money spent on acquisitions 2004/05 Money spent on acquisitions EXCLUDING external funds for acquisitions Total income 2004/05
The Met, New York£53.3m* $99.2m) -£137.8m ($257.7m)
MoMA, New York£20m (37.1m) -£75.3m ($140.8m)
Louvre, Paris £16.8m (€25.2m) £4.6m (€6.9m) £115.2m (€172.3m)
The Getty, California c.£10.5m** (c.$20m) -c. £142.2m** (c.$270m)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam £9.7m (€14.3m) £7m (€10.5m) £48.3m (€72.1m)
National Gallery, London £6.3m£805,000 £39.8m
Tate (all UK sites) £4.8m£1.6m £88.8m
V&A, London£1.3m £546,000£66.1m
British Museum, London £761,000£334,000 £57.8m

Column 2 shows each museum's total spend on acquisitions in 2004/05. This includes any government funds spent on acquiring new objects, money used from endowments and trust funds, cash donations (either towards specific acquisitions or for non-specified purposes), money from the museum's Friends organisations and all other external funds (including, for UK museums, money from the National Lottery and funding bodies such as The Art Fund)

Column 3 shows each museum's spend on acquisitions in 2004-05 excluding external sources. For UK museums, this means spend from government grant-in-aid (if any was used), plus any money released from endowments and trust funds. Money from external sources is not included in this figure

Column 4 shows each museum's total income for 2004/05 from all sources

*2004/05 was an exceptional year for the Metropolitan Museum, which acquired Duccio's 'Madonna and Child' for $50 million. In previous years the Met spent around $30m-$40m on new acquisitions. In 2002-03 for example, the Met spent $32,894,000 on acquisitions.

**The Getty declined to confirm figures. Figures cited are approximate and are taken from various newspaper reports, including the New York Times, 06/11/05

Source: The Art Fund

107. National museums told us of important potential acquisitions which had been lost because the funds available had been insufficient to secure them.[205] The British Museum had recently been unable to acquire the Dowlish Wake Anglo-Saxon sculptured panel and a late Roman Consular diptych because the funds available to the Museum had been insufficient to secure them,[206] while the National Gallery told us that it had taken the view that it could not to put in an offer for Titian's "Portrait of a Man" (which had been on loan to the Gallery) when the owner decided to sell it.[207] The National Gallery told us of its concern about the increasing cost of great works of art (including those on long-term loan to British galleries), the corresponding incentive for owners to sell them and the inadequacy of the funding to enable national institutions to acquire them.[208] The National Maritime Museum said that rising costs made it extremely difficult for the museum to compete with private buyers, whether in the UK market or beyond, particularly in the art market and the market for rare scientific and horological instruments.[209] The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest said that the number and value of items of national importance which have been granted export licences after a decision on the licence was deferred to give public institutions or private individuals in this country the opportunity to purchase them, has far exceeded the number and value of items that have been retained in the United Kingdom.[210] The Society of London Art Dealers said that huge increases in the prices of pre-eminent works of art of all periods made it unsurprising that British museums and galleries were seldom able to raise sufficient money to buy the top works of art which become available and which they would like to buy and retain in Britain, and that unless more money was made available, the situation was bound to get gradually worse.[211] The V&A said that it seemed self-defeating to have an elaborate system for preventing the export of such works, with inevitably damaging consequences to the art trade in London, if even the most important objects cannot be saved.[212]

108. Evidence from the regions told the same story. Manchester City Council told us that Manchester City Galleries had had a strong tradition of contemporary collecting since its foundation in 1882 but that in recent years its collecting had been reactive not proactive, responding to opportunities where they arose rather than strategically developing collections. The Galleries' acquisition budget had been reduced and ultimately discontinued due to budgetary constraints in the 1980s.[213] It said that the only proactive scheme in recent years had been the 5-year initiative developed by the Contemporary Fine Art Society and funded by the Arts Council Lottery. The West Midlands Regional Museums Hub said that the lack of a single strategic funding stream for acquisitions was making it difficult for museums to acquire significant items for their collections:[214]the museums within the hub partnership were relying to a large extent on donations and, in the case of purchases, grant-aid schemes for acquisitions.[215] It compared English regional museums with their French and German counterparts which, unlike the English, had been able to develop outstanding contemporary international collections.[216]

109. The overall view from the sector was summed up by Tyne & Wear Museums when they said: "All around the country are public and private museums with frozen, inadequate or non-existent acquisition budgets. Collections are stagnating and visitors to galleries today might be hard-pressed to see the difference in collections they might have visited twenty years ago […] the cost of acquisition and the lack of resources to fund it is the most serious, pressing and difficult problem."[217]

110. Despite the widespread despondency in the sector about its capacity for acquisitions, some maintained that the position was not desperate. Asked whether there was a crisis as the top end, Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said: "I would not say crisis. You could never have a policy that prepared for the sale in any year of a huge Old Master or two or three [...] Those things have to be treated as special events".[218] David Lammy M.P., Minister for Culture at DCMS, referred to the amounts which national and regional museums had spent on acquisitions—around £30 million a year, fluctuating between £65 million in 2003-04 and £23 million last year, and said that if you totalled up what our museums had been able to spend, they were "spending just shy of £300 million on acquisitions and I am afraid that is a large sum of money and it certainly does not suggest that there is a crisis in acquisition".[219] He also referred to table 5 in the Travers report which, he said, showed that "all of our museums are spending more than our colleagues in Europe" and that "the Louvre is spending half what the National Gallery is spending on acquiring". Table 5 is set out below.
InstitutionAverage annual expenditure on acquisitions 2001-2004* (£m)
National Gallery12.270
British Museum7.621
Victoria and Albert Museum 1.577
National Museums Liverpool 1.344
Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales 0.709
National Portrait Gallery 0.701
National Maritime Museum 0.549
National Museums Scotland 0.549
Museum of London0.336
Royal Armouries0.210
Imperial War Museum 0.176
National Museum of Science & Industry 0.057
Natural History Museum 0.171
Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands) 17.402
Louvre (France)6.416
Rijksmuseum (Netherlands) 3.851  
State Museums Berlin (Germany) 1.377
Musee d'Orsay (France) 1.056
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Germany) 0.305
Deutches Museum (Germany) 0.187
J Paul Getty Museum (USA) 17.005
Metropolitan Museum (USA) 16.623
MoMA (USA)9.859
MFA Boston (USA)8.237

A note to the table refers to the Art Fund's work in 2006 suggesting that the analysis in the Travers report "may understate the problem".[220] The Art Fund's league table (see above para 107) shows the figures for the more recent year, 2004-05, and presents a very different picture, showing that the Louvre spent two to three times more than the National Gallery. Mr David Barrie, the Director of the Art Fund, suggested to us that the use of the aggregate figure of £300 million over ten years was unhelpful, and distorted any analysis of the funding challenge faced by the museum community as a whole, as it included funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (which funded a few, exceptional and costly works) and from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as tax foregone under the Acceptance in Lieu programme.[221]

111. Whether or not the gap between museums' acquisition budgets and the cost of acquisitions is properly described as a "crisis", there is a clear decline in their power to keep collections growing and an urgent need for action to restore museums' power to develop their collections. We are, however, concerned that the very high prices now commanded by great works of art are calling into question the feasibility of public art galleries regularly continuing to compete for them against enormously wealthy individuals and institutions.

Schemes which promote acquisition and philanthropy

112. The Export Review system exists to protect works of national heritage for the nation. It provides that certain cultural objects more than 50 years old and valued above specified financial thresholds require an individual licence if they are to be exported out of the United Kingdom, whether on a permanent or temporary basis. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest is a non-statutory independent body whose role is to advise the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether a cultural object which is the subject of an application for an export licence is of national importance. To assess the importance of an object, the Committee uses "the Waverley criteria", which are:

—  Is the item so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune?

—  Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance?

—  Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular branch of art, learning or history?

113. If the Reviewing Committee believes there is a case, it may recommend to DCMS that the granting of an export licence is deferred. The deferral of the licence enables a purchase offer to be made, at or above the recommended price, and provides UK institutions and private individuals with a final chance to raise the money to purchase such items before they are exported. If no offer is made the licence will be granted at the end of the deferral period, but if the vendor rejects an offer at the fair market value of the item, the export licence will be refused. The deferral period can be extended where there is a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase.

114. On 13 December 2006, the 2005-06 annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest was published. Following recommendations by that Committee, temporary export bars were placed on seventeen items of cultural significance which came before the Committee between 1 May 2005 and 30 April 2006. Of these, nine items worth £8.3 million were purchased and will remain in the United Kingdom. Funds could not be raised for all items found to be of outstanding significance and export licences were issued for the remaining 8 items worth £7.3 million.

115. Many witnesses told us that the export review system is failing to protect important works for the nation. In recent years, the Reviewing Committee has consistently drawn attention to the fact that the system of Waverley control can only achieve its prime objective of preventing the depletion of our national heritage if there is adequate funding for acquisitions available to public collections.[222] It pointed out emphatically to us that "the existing arrangements, excellent though they are in many ways, are not working as intended because of a shortage of money. This country has put in place a set of arrangements to ensure objects of the highest quality do not, in general, get exported. We believe that the policy behind these arrangements is not being implemented properly if the quantity of such objects currently being exported remains at its present level, and to that extent it is not working."[223] The Reviewing Committee believes that the levels of taxpayers' money required to enhance the ability of public institutions to achieve this will cost "almost nothing in the context of the total burden of taxation and would also represent a good and proper use of public money providing a sound investment". Similar points were made by a number of others including the Arts Council, which said that the safeguarding system too often failed, as market values exceed the ability of public collections to raise the necessary funds, so that the system was now regarded as ineffective with only a tiny number of cases now being referred,—less than 1% of items for which an export licence is requested. [224]

116. Various ideas were put forward for enabling the export deferral system to be more effective in keeping works of art in the UK. The Tate suggested that the system should be strengthened (as proposed in the Goodison Review) by imposing obligations on the owner of works of art, when applying for an export licence, to commit to sell that work to a public institution should the fundraising be successful, and that the 'starring' system (which is used to indicate that "every possible effort should be made to raise enough money" to keep a particular work in the country) should be more systematic and increasingly used.[225] The Art Fund also suggested that steps should be taken to discourage owners from withdrawing their application for an export licence once a fundraising effort has been launched. It told us that, in 2005, 20% of licence applications were withdrawn following a serious expression of interest by a UK buyer, which meant that a great deal of effort by UK museums and funding bodies had been wasted.[226] In his Review, Sir Nicholas Goodison concluded that giving the state a right of pre-emption would infringe the rights of the owners, by reducing the value of their assets. But he endorsed as "thoroughly sensible" a proposed amendment to the scheme, to provide that if a public institution came forward during the first deferral period with serious intent to make a matching offer, then the applicant for a licence 'would be asked to make a binding offer to sell to that institution.[227]

117. Two recent and related high profile cases illustrate both how the system can work at its best and how easily it can fail. The Blue Rigi, The Dark Rigi and The Red Rigi have been described as JMW Turner's "very greatest" watercolour paintings.[228] In May 2006 the Reviewing Committee deferred the export of The Dark Rigi which had been sold for £2.7m to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, but the work was sold to a UK-based private collector hours before the Tate's fax announcing its intention to purchase. When The Blue Rigi was sold for £5.83 million (the highest ever price for a British watercolour) to an overseas buyer, a temporary export bar was imposed until 20 March 2007, and the Art Fund and the Tate launched a fundraising campaign to save the painting for the nation.[229] Tate's trustees pledged £2 million of its own funds, and the Art Fund awarded £500,000, one of the largest grants in its history. The public appeal raised more than £550,000 in just over five weeks. On 1 March, the National Heritage Memorial Fund announced that it had underwritten the acquisition to a maximum of £1.95m (which represents over a third of its current annual budget of £5m) thus guaranteeing that The Blue Rigi would stay in the UK.

118. The export control system plays an invaluable role in assisting national museums and public bodies to build their collections and it is a matter of great regret that it is not backed up by the resources to achieve its prime objective. We recommend that DCMS should amend the scheme to strengthen the position of public institutions which have indicated serious intent to make matching offers for export-deferred cultural objects.

Tax reliefs and philanthropy

119. There has been some form of tax relief for charitable donations for over a hundred years. Mr David Barrie, the Director of the Art Fund said that there was need for more incentives for philanthropy, saying that there "is absolutely no question that at a time when public expenditure is under intense pressure and the likelihood of additional government funds being made available is remote, the introduction of tax incentives of this kind is critically important".[230]

120. The current tax reliefs include:

—  Conditional exemption from inheritance tax and capital gains tax, which is available where qualifying heritage assets are given public access. Conditional exemption may be claimed for heritage assets that are judged to be pre-eminent, provided undertakings are given by the owner to:

Preserve them and keep them in the UK;

Secure reasonable public access to them (some measure of which must be 'open access'- without prior appointment); and

Publicise the availability of such access and the terms of the undertakings.

—  Douceur on private treaty sales, which applies to sales to public institutions listed in Schedule 3 to the Inheritance Tax Act 1984: the owner is absolved from 25% of the tax he or she would have paid if selling on the open market, and the institutional purchaser benefits by the purchase price being reduced by the remainder of the tax, which is effectively written off. Douceur applies to estate duty, capital transfer tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax.

—  Gift Aid which is tax relief on money donated to UK charities. Donations are treated as if the donor had already deducted basic rate tax from them. The charity can then reclaim this tax to increase the value of a donation.

—  Acceptance in lieu, whereby anyone who is liable for the payment of an existing inheritance tax bill can offer a heritage object in part or whole payment of the tax. The offer may be accepted if the object is pre-eminent. The benefit to offerors is that they can apply a higher proportion of the value of an object to satisfy the tax liability than they could by selling the object at auction for the same price, because of the "douceur" under which only 25% of the tax which would have been payable is remitted to the estate.

121. There is little or no expectation in the sector that the Government is "going to suddenly find extra money to give to museums to add to their collections".[231] Both HLF and the Art Fund have, within the last year, announced investments which will support acquisitions but the sums involved (£3 million to be allocated by HLF in 2007-08 and a funding package of £130,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to Enriching Regions: The Art Fund Collecting Scheme) will not go very far. If funding cannot be found to fill the need, then philanthropy must be encouraged. The Labour Party manifesto of 2005 stated: "We will explore further ways to encourage philanthropy to boost the quality of our public art collections". DCMS told us that it had hosted a forum in July 2006 with leading figures from the museums, galleries, archives and libraries sector to begin a dialogue on collections and to begin to solve the various problems cited. It said that one of the issues arising from the meeting was that an area in which there was considerable scope for improvement was increasing individual and corporate donations for acquisitions. Although acceptance in lieu and a number of tax concessions were already available to encourage private and corporate giving, it was felt that these concessions were poorly understood by the private sector were not taken up to any large extent, so DCMS was currently examining the existing tax-based incentives to ascertain whether they could be better deployed by its funded bodies in the cultural sector as a whole, and whether there might be a case to be made for some clarification of the existing legislation.[232]

122. DCMS's written evidence to the inquiry did not mention that, in 2003, the Treasury had asked Sir Nicholas Goodison "to review the effectiveness and efficiency of support to regional and national museums and galleries to help them acquire works of art and culture of distinction that might otherwise be sold abroad and to make these items accessible to the public". In his Review (Securing the Best for Museum: Private Giving and Government Support) published in January 2004, Sir Nicholas said that tax inducements are the obvious means of encouraging philanthropy and he made a number of recommendations, including ways in which the existing tax incentives should be extended. This Committee's predecessor noted in March 2005 that DCMS had implemented the Goodison recommendations in so far as they applied to DCMS and it looked to the Treasury to follow suit and to publish justifications for reasons where it decided not to.[233] Disappointment that the Government has not implemented those recommendations was expressed by many in evidence to this inquiry. The Tate said that it believed that these (tax incentive) options offered models which could be adopted by Government and that it had evidence from potential donors that these proposals would greatly benefit the collection.[234] David Wilson, the Director of the Wordsworth Trust made a comment which reflected what had been said by many others, saying: "We would support the Goodison proposals entirely and think they should be implemented in full because I believe that the cost to the Exchequer would be far outweighed by the benefit to the cultural health of the nation, so it is a simple case and we should get on with it".[235]

123. A small group of lawyers and museum curators has joined together to form "the Goodison Review Group" to "consider the recommendations and to research and refine them so far as desirable and to put the recommendations as so refined to the Treasury". Their overriding objective was to suggest ways in which objects and works of art of importance to the national heritage could best be preserved and retained in this country. They explained to us in detail the work which they had done to take forward the proposals but they had not been encouraged by the response they had received.[236] They said: "The Treasury response to the Goodison Review in the area of direct taxation as explored by Sir Nicholas and fleshed out in the Group's papers has either been wholly negative or deafening in its silence. Given existing and anticipated difficulties for public museums in securing funding for the acquisition of heritage chattels, the case for the urgent reappraisal of existing direct taxation incentives designed to facilitate the retention of such chattels in this country would seem overwhelming."[237]

124. When he gave evidence in January Sir Nicholas told us that there had been no contact between himself and the Treasury since the presentation of his report and that he had had to glean reasons for non-acceptance from elsewhere, particularly parliamentary debates.[238] But he had been encouraged when he had received a telephone call from the Treasury on the eve of his appearance before the Committee, and he liked to think that "the real reason for nothing having happened is simply that they have not got round to it".[239] Mr Hugh Stevenson, a member of the Review Group, told us how dispiriting it had been for the Group to get no response after putting a great deal of work into putting some real flesh on the bones of the Goodison proposals.[240]

125. Sir Nicholas referred to a debate in the House of Lords last October in which Lord Evans of Temple Guiting had said that any argument for further tax concessions and further help from the Treasury was weakened if the existing concessions were not being exploited to the full. When it was put to Lord Evans that other countries' experience suggested that the existing tax arrangements were not the most efficacious, he suggested (adding that he was straying from his brief) that museums and galleries had not been an efficient or effective pressure group as they had not spoken with one voice.[241] Sir Nicholas commented that that statement appeared to be based on some work done in the Treasury to which he had not had access. He also told us that he had never been summoned to discuss anything with a present DCMS minister, so there had been, as far as he was concerned, "an aching void".[242]

126. Before our final oral evidence session, Sir Nicholas had met the Minister for Culture, who told us that the position in DCMS was that the Goodison Review was a good report and "Goodison opens the window in relation to tax relief for the first time and certainly those within the museum and arts sector indicate to me that they think that there will be advantages. Sir Nicholas says to me that in writing and putting together his report, he spoke to a number of wealthy individuals who believe that these sorts of tax incentives would mean that they would give, and I have no reason to dispute that".[243] He also told us that DCMS was redoubling its efforts in relation to philanthropy, and was in dialogue about the Review with the Treasury, which had raised certain issues about the evidence base to support tax relief in relation to art and the art market as recommended by Sir Nicholas.

127. Representatives of the MLA were clearly keen to see a more liberal regime on tax treatment of philanthropy and donation, which could help the museums sector as it has in other countries. They believed that Sir Nicholas' recommendations were very well thought through, very thorough and were not that radical: there was a logic to these arguments which was persuasive. They had tried arguing the case to the Treasury but said that they needed to keep regrouping and arguing the case again.[244]

128. Sir Nicholas has told us that, while he has still not received any ministerial response to his review, there has now been contact with Treasury officials and he was pleased to know that they were interested in finding ways of encouraging philanthropy; but they had been entirely negative on his proposals for reforming acceptance in lieu and conditional exemption, nor was there any enthusiasm for his proposals for tax concessions on gifts of works of art and culture. Nevertheless he hoped that he would be invited to take part in discussions which would follow completion of research which the Treasury had commissioned into the effects of tax concessions on people's urge to give.[245]

129. We share the disappointment of Sir Nicholas Goodison—and many others involved in the museum sector—at the lack of progress on taking forward the recommendations which he made in his Review to encourage philanthropy. We are particularly disappointed that so much time has been spent without any visible result on the question of whether the existing inducements could be used more, to the exclusion of carefully thought through modifications which the sector believes would make them more widely attractive. Opportunities to enhance collections are being lost. It is very disappointing that, two years on, we can only reiterate the words our predecessor Committee used in 2005. "We note that the DCMS has implemented the Goodison recommendations in so far as they apply to the Department. We look to the Treasury to follow suit. Where it does not do so, justification, if any, for the corresponding decisions should be published." Sir Nicholas undertook his review at the request of the Chief Secretary and is entitled to expect a reasoned response from the same level to the recommendations he has made.

Disposal from collections

130. Museums' powers to dispose of, or "de-accession", objects from their collections vary between the strictly limited powers set out in the legislation governing national museums and a total absence of legal constraints for some museums and galleries. The powers of the national museums are not identical, but those of the British Museum may be regarded as fairly typical. The trustees' general powers are limited to the disposal of objects which are duplicates, of objects which are unfit to be retained, of those which have become useless for the museum's purposes or of pre-1850 printed matter of which they hold photographic or other copies.[246] Special new powers of disposal have been added to cater for special situations where these limitations have stood in the way of returning objects in response to acknowledged moral claims by former owners or their successors. One example of such a power, introduced by the Human Tissue Act 2004, enables the Trustees of the British Museum and eight other institutions to de-accession human remains if it appears to them appropriate.[247]

131. It seems probable that there will at some time in the future be legislation to confer another special power, so that national museums will be permitted to return items which have been "spoliated". Legislation has been recommended by the Spoliation Advisory Panel, which was set up to resolve claims from people, or their heirs, who lost property during the Nazi era which is now held in UK national collections. It advises both the claimants and the institution where the object is held, as to what action may be taken. The Panel provides an alternative to legal action, aiming to achieve a solution that is fair and just to everyone involved, taking into account the moral issues of every case

132. In 2000 a predecessor of this Committee concluded that the case for special treatment for cases of alleged wrongful taking during the period 1933 to 1945 had been convincingly established and that it would be absurd if restitution were not possible due to the dilatoriness of Ministers in DCMS.[248] In a follow up inquiry, that Committee's successor was dismayed to find that not only had no progress been made, but that the Government then considered the need for legislative change to have evaporated. The expected flood of claims had not materialised and the Secretary of State had "come to rest on the absence of a request from the Panel for her to consider legislative action".[249] The Committee urged the DCMS not to wait until a museum found itself in the position of being unable to meet a valid claim for the return of a spoliated item, before starting to seek a change in the law: that would be too late. Although at that time the Panel had concluded only one case, there was real possibility of a successful claimant seeking the return of an object without making an alternative claim for compensation or an ex gratia payment. Indeed the Metropolitan Chapter of the Cathedral City of Benevento had already submitted a claim for the return of a twelfth century manuscript ("the Benevento Missal") which had been in the Chapter Library before the Second World War. The Missal was acquired by the British Museum in 1947 and had been in the possession of the British Library since 1972. In its third report, published in March 2005, the Panel concluded that the Chapter had made good its moral claim to the Missal and went on to say that "it would be right to accede to the invitation of the Select Committee", and to recommend to the Secretary of State that amending legislation should be introduced.[250] The Commission for Looted Art in Europe takes the view that the continuing absence of legislation undermines the Panel's credibility and authority and dismays claimants who wish for restitution.[251]

133. Just before we announced the terms of reference for this inquiry, in July 2006, DCMS launched a consultation inviting views on how far a power to make restitution of objects lost during the Nazi era should extend, who should be responsible for taking decisions on restitution, and what continuing role the Spoliation Advisory Panel should have. The consultation closed in November 2006. We understand from DCMS that 18 responses have been received and that these will be published on the DCMS website shortly.

134. We welcome the consultation which DCMS has now undertaken in relation to spoliation claims. However we regret that DCMS has taken so long to reach what can only be a preliminary stage in dealing with a problem which has been apparent for a number of years.

The Elgin Marbles

135. Any inquiry concerned with the issue of disposals by museums is bound to attract some representations about the future of the Elgin Marbles. The term "Elgin Marbles" is a convenient shorthand for the Parthenon sculptures, which were brought to this country from Greece by Lord Elgin nearly 200 years ago and are now in the British Museum. Some parts of the sculptures remain in Athens, while others are displayed in the Louvre and other museums round the world. Shortly before our visit to Greece we went to see the Elgin Marbles and, while we were in Athens, we were shown the sculptures displayed in the Acropolis Museum, including a small part of a foot which had recently been reattached to a sculpture after being returned to Athens from a German university. Work was being done on the Parthenon itself, to remove parts which are still attached to the temple. We were also shown round the impressive New Acropolis Museum, which is being built on a site at the foot of the Acropolis hill to house all the archaeological finds from the Acropolis, and which will replace the rather small museum which stands on the rock of the Acropolis. Our hosts explained that the Parthenon sculptures from the old museum and those now being taken from the Parthenon would be displayed on the top floor of the new museum. Only original marbles would be displayed there, not casts, and gaps would be left to show where parts were missing. During our discussions with Mr Voulgarakis, the Greek Minister for Culture, and other representatives of the Greek cultural sector we heard many references to the special place of the Parthenon and its sculptures in the hearts of the Greeks. In 2000, our predecessor considered the arguments advanced by the British Museum and others in support of the case that the marbles should remain where they are and those of the Greek government for a change in location. It did not advocate any change to the present status of the Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum.[252]

136. When Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, gave oral evidence, he said that the Trustees of the Museum believed that the Elgin Marbles played an important part in the survey of cultural achievements of humanity. He pointed out that the Parthenon as it once was cannot be reconstructed, that "it is a ruined building and a very large part of the sculpture is now destroyed". He thought that the "world public benefit" was greater under the present arrangements.[253]

137. In April 2007, the Trustees formally restated their position, saying that they had always made clear that they could not contemplate the removal of all the Parthenon sculptures to Athens, even for a short period of time. They said that they frequently lent objects from the collection to museums all round the world, but that they had never received a normal loan request for any of the Parthenon sculptures. Successive Greek governments had always sought the permanent removal of all the sculptures to Athens, and the Trustees did not foresee a situation where they could possibly accede to such a request.

138. We were moved by the passion expressed by our Greek hosts and we acknowledge the special place which the Parthenon holds in the Greek national identity. We recognise the strength of feeling both for and against returning the Elgin Marbles. However, we note that it is not proposed to restore the Parthenon to its original glory, bringing together all the fragmented parts, wherever they might now be. We congratulate the British Museum on their efforts to ensure that the Marbles are accessible to both the public and researchers from around the world. We also recognise their argument that the display of the Marbles in the Museum adds to the understanding of the influence and spread of culture between civilisations. We note that the British Museum has made casts of the sculptures available to the Acropolis Museum and are disappointed that it appears that visitors to the Acropolis and its new museum will not be able to enjoy these. We note that the decision as to whether the originals should be returned remains one for the Trustees of the British Museum.

Other restrictions on disposals by museums

139. The de-accessioning powers of other museums and galleries are not defined in legislation but may be limited by their governing instruments, such as the trust deed under which an institution was set up, or by conditions which have been imposed on particular gifts. One high profile example of the latter arose from another finding of the Spoliation Advisory Panel. The Panel considered a spoliation claim relating to a painting which had been given to Glasgow City Council and formed part of the Burrell Collection. It concluded that the just and fair solution would be restitution of the picture to the claimants. However, the gift had been subject to a stipulation that the donee should not be entitled to sell or donate or exchange any item or part of the Collection, and lawyers had advised that this would not permit the Council to return the painting to the claimants.[254] After taking legal advice, the Council's Cultural and Leisure Services Committee offered an ex gratia payment to the claimants in recognition of their moral claim.

140. Before the 1970s it was not unusual for museums to sell items from their collections or otherwise dispose of objects considered to be unfashionable.[255] In 1977 the Museums Association introduced its Code of Practice setting out ethical standards for museums, and the sections on ethical acquisition and disposal were adopted by MLA's predecessor as required standards for the new museum registration scheme set up in 1988. The Museums Association's current Code of Ethics states, "There is a strong presumption against disposal out of the public domain. Disposal should be undertaken only within the strategic framework of a long-term collections management policy, as a means of returning an item to its rightful owner, or improving care, access or context." It also provides that all those who work for or govern museums should ensure that they

—   refuse to undertake disposal principally for financial reasons (either to raise income or decrease expenditure) and

—   apply any money raised as a result of disposal, if this exceptional circumstance arises, solely and directly for the benefit of the museum's collection.

141. The sector was appalled when, in 1991, Derbyshire County Council sold 16 paintings from its museum. When Ms Helen Wilkinson, the policy officer at the Museums Association, gave evidence to the Committee she told us that the fallout from those sales had "cast a very long shadow in the museum sector" and that many people working in local authority museums (particularly in the small and medium sized ones) were afraid that their council would sell valuable items from the museum's collection "to plug a hole in its revenue budget", as Bury Metropolitan Borough Council was then proposing to do.[256]Consternation and condemnation by the sector did not deter Bury Council from selling Lowry's "A Riverbank" from the Bury Museum and Art Gallery for £1.25 million, nearly double what it was expected to raise and ten thousand times the price of £175 which the council had paid for it in 1951. The leader of the Council is reported to have said that the sale, though regrettable "was preferable to even more swingeing cuts and job losses which could well have meant the complete closure of the gallery and museum to the public".[257]As the sale was in breach of the provision in the Museums Association's rules that disposal must never be motivated by a desire to raise funds, MLA has removed Bury Museum's accredited status. Unsurprisingly GoSLAM was concerned at what it saw as a "dangerous example" set for other hard pressed local authorities.[258] Ms Wilkinson and Dr Maurice Davies, deputy chairman of the Museums Association, told us that some work had been done to look at feasibility of legislation to protect local authority collections, but that it was a difficult area and there were real judgments to be made about whether the problem was large enough to require legislation.[259] The Association has urged the Committee to take a strong stance on the Bury case, given the danger that it might precipitate a rash of similar inappropriate sales.[260]

142. We support the Museums Association in its criticism of the action of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council in selling Lowry's "A Riverbank" from Bury Museum's collection. We believe that there is a moral duty on councils to hold cultural collections in trust for the wider community, and we share the concern of the sector that other local authorities may be encouraged to follow Bury's example, not least by the unexpectedly large sum raised by the sale. We believe that this would be a retrograde step.

143. In 2003 the National Museum Directors' Conference published "Too Much Stuff? Disposal from Museums", which argued that careful review and rationalisation of collections, leading in some cases to disposal, transfer or long-term loan, can make an important contribution to ensuring that these collections are enjoyed and used. Building on that report, the Museums Association, in its "Collections for the Future" report in 2005, found that there were obstacles that prevent museums from disposing of more objects, even when it was ethical and appropriate to do so. Probably the most significant was a "disproportionate anxiety among some museum professionals", particularly in the local authority sector that, by showing a willingness to dispose of any items, they would open the floodgates to a rush of inappropriate disposals and that they would be required by unsympathetic governing bodies to sell parts of the collection for purely financial reasons. At that time there had been no recent cases of that happening and the inquiry suggested that as the last case caused such widespread indignation it should be clear that this is not a risk-free course of action for a governing body. The Museums Association has since undertaken a major review of its guidance on disposal, consulting with stakeholders to ensure that its ethical guidelines remain appropriate.[261] It hopes to make it easier for museums to undertake responsible disposal, at the same time as discouraging inappropriate disposal.

144. There are some museums to which the debate about disposal is unlikely to have much, if any, relevance. Some institutions are set up to be more or less complete collections: e.g. legal deposit libraries or the Natural History Museum, which aspires to have a reference collection of more or less every species in a particular taxonomic and geographic spread. The importance of individual items in a reference collection does not depend on their being regularly used.[262] In other collections there may be valid reasons for disposal. They may contain objects which may require substantial resources to maintain and preserve where there may well be a case for disposal if these objects are not used.[263] The Museums Association said that museums should grow and develop in response to changing needs and priorities, which included the possibility of disposing of objects which no longer fulfilled a need and were not appropriate to a museum's mission.[264] During our visit to Tyneside, the manager of Stockton on Tees Museum Service told us that the museum had acquired a number of fire engines which had no association with the area and which, she thought, should no longer form part of the collection. DCMS told us that a number of museums, galleries, archives and libraries are reaching the point at which they need seriously to consider the issue of disposal in order to manage their collections more effectively:[265] if a collecting institution does not dispose of any items in its collections then a point will come where it may run out of space altogether to display and store its collections. Some felt that the form of the current presumption against disposal was too restrictive and acted as a deterrent to museums developing proper collections management,[266] while others thought that present practice and policy was effective in encouraging a pragmatic and realistic approach to disposal of collection items while ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place.[267]

145. Although the evidence to the inquiry showed that the sector considered it wholly unacceptable to treat collections as financial assets which could be raided to pay bills, there was a suggestion that selling items from a collection might be justified if the proceeds could be used to improve the collection. "Trading up", by selling works to fund purchases of work by the same artist, is common in the United States. Tate told us that it had the power, in certain circumstances, to deaccession works, provided that the proceeds are only used to fund purchases for the Tate Collection, and although the Tate Trustees had not used these powers, they believe that some relaxation of the presumption against all disposal would allow them to make selective exchanges of works by living or recently deceased artists in order to upgrade the representation of that artist in the collection. Such occasional disposals would have to be undertaken with great care so as not to undermine public confidence, and would not be a source of significant funds, but would allow for the more effective management of the collection and presentation of the artist to the public.[268]

146. Some museums were equivocal about the prospect of greater flexibility, partly for fear of encouraging inappropriate disposals as described above, but also because of concern about the effect on donations if potential donors were to lose confidence that their donations would continue to be held in trust for public benefit.[269] Others made the points that responsible disposal required knowledgeable and careful consideration of the object and its value, and that museums should know what they had in their collections before taking any decisions on disposals—some museums were not fully aware of what material they held in their stores.[270] In this context the work being done by the Public Catalogue Foundation is immensely valuable. The Foundation has estimated that the "national collection" of publicly owned oil paintings, held principally in regional museums, but also in national museums and in civic buildings, exceeds 150,000 works, 80% of which are held in storage or in buildings without public access.[271] Its aim—described by others in evidence as "a wonderful idea"[272] and "a brilliant scheme"[273]—is to catalogue them all, giving the title, artist, execution date, dimensions, medium, acquisition method and inventory number, with a colour photograph. Initially, it is producing county-by-county catalogues of which it has already published 13 out of a projected 80, and it hopes to put the whole catalogues online, where it will be free to the public. The Foundation told us that its business model was mainly based on grants and donations and several of the museum hubs had provided support, but the Foundation had found that most local authorities were reluctant "to put up even the tiniest amounts of money" even though they were, in a sense, "responsible overall for the art in their counties".[274]

147. The Foundation told us that the Heritage Lottery Fund had rejected an application for funding, saying "the project does not directly deliver any activities which would encourage new audiences to get involved in heritage, it does not improve physical or other wider forms of access to the paintings themselves".[275] When we asked Dame Liz Forgan, about the possibility of HLF funding the Foundation, she said that a way of delivering greater benefits might be found if HLF and the Foundation worked together: although she could not say whether HLF would be able to support the Foundation. Mr Andrew Ellis, the Foundation's Director, told us that it had "fully taken on board all their advice" and was going to make another application very soon,[276]

148. The Museums Association has now completed its review and found that by a small majority there was support among respondents for revising the guiding principle to make it less restrictive.[277] Research into public attitudes had shown that initial responses to the idea of disposal were negative and often shocked, but attitudes softened when the context was explained. The research had stressed the need for museums to explain what disposal is and why they do it, to be open and transparent about their decision making processes and to communicate them well with the public. The Museums Association had found, within the sector, a common perception that the guidance simply states that there is a "strong presumption against disposal". Evidence to the committee tended to confirm that observation as several of the memoranda referred us to the "strong presumption against disposal" without going on to say "out of the public domain".[278] The Association proposes to change the wording of the guiding principle replacing "a strong presumption against disposal" with a new principle which acknowledges the role that disposal can play in ensuring collections are well managed and sustainable, whilst ensuring that only curatorially driven disposal is acceptable. Another proposed change will reflect that charitable trust museums may, exceptionally, be obliged by charity law to sell items from their collections in order to comply with their obligation to make best use of their assets to support the aims of the museum.

149. We can understand that proposals for "trading up" may be regarded with some misgiving in the sector and that there are risks involved in it but we conclude that under tightly defined criteria such as those envisaged by the Tate, trading up could be a constructive aid to improving collections.

150. We commend the Museums Association for its timely work on the issue of disposal. We agree that the present wording of code is unsatisfactory and is capable of misleading the sector as well as the public as to the utility of responsible disposal. The sector needs to foster better understanding among the public that good collections management can include some pruning.

A national strategy for museums

151. In January 2005 DCMS published a consultation paper Understanding the Future: Museums and 21st Century Life. Its stated purpose was "to look at what aspects of England's museums need to be addressed to face the challenges of the 21st century". The responses to the consultation strongly favoured the creation of a national strategy that would embrace the whole sector.[279] A small collaborative Working Group was then formed by DCMS to consider the purpose, content and potential goals of an action plan and eventual museums strategy. Several members of the group were among those who gave evidence to us. Most of the written evidence to this inquiry was submitted before DCMS published its follow up document, and it showed a strong appetite for a national strategy for museums. The sector wanted a strategy which would, amongst other things:

—   foster integration of the national and non-national elements of the sector,[280]

—  recognise the need for adequate investment to realise the benefits of collaborative working,[281]

—  promote better understanding of what the public can expect to find in public collections,[282]

—  embrace all museum functions and values,[283]

—  explain what museums could do and what was expected of them,[284]

—  create a shared set of priorities and identify common outcomes to guide the work of all museums,[285]

—  make the obligations of the nationals to the wider museum sector explicit,[286]

—  set specific objectives and priorities for collections care,[287]

—  raise standards across the sector and identify clearer funding sources specifically for improving collections care,[288]

—  encourage stronger links at regional and national level between cultural sectors with overlapping responsibilities,[289] and

—  build on the good will of the sector expressed in the responses and the advances made through Renaissance in the Regions to draw the sector together in common aims.[290]

152. The Museums Association said that its key priority for the document was that DCMS should set out clearly its vision for the whole sector, especially for museums outside the Renaissance programme.[291] In a report prepared for the Association of Independent Museums on the impact of Renaissance on independent museums, Adrian Babbage found that "the absence of a national museum strategy that acknowledges the breadth and depth of the museum sector, and puts in place appropriate mechanisms to develop it, appeared to be a root cause of dissatisfaction with Renaissance".[292]

153. In October 2006 DCMS published Understanding the Future: Priorities for England's Museums as a further consultation document, setting out priorities for all English museums over the next decade, and seeking responses to a series of recommendations under five priorities. DCMS asked the MLA to produce an action plan setting out the first steps to deliver those priorities and time scales for developing the project by October 2007. The five priorities identified were:

  • Museums will fulfil their potential as learning resources;
  • Museums will embrace their role in fostering, exploring, celebrating and questioning the identities of diverse communities;
  • Museums' collections will be more dynamic and better used;
  • Museums' workforces will be dynamic, highly skilled and representative;
  • Museums will work more closely with each other and partners outside the sector.

154. MLA told us that it would take forward the action plan through extensive consultation and there would be need for a steering group, with national museums, independent museums, university museums, local authority museums, volunteer-run museums all represented, as well as some work outside the museums sector.[293]

155. During our oral evidence sessions after the publication of Understanding the Future: Priorities for England's Museums, disappointment was expressed by witnesses who had hoped that the document would set out a national strategy but found that it had not done so. Mr Alec Coles, the Director of Tyne & Wear Museums, said that it was "no secret that the members of the [collaborative group] were looking for nothing less than a national museums strategy out of this document and it is not there yet".[294] Mr Nick Dodd, the Chief Executive of Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust hoped that a "stronger document" would appear.[295] Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum said that of course there should be a national museum strategy and, of course, DCMS should lead the process of creating that strategy but he thought that Understanding the Future "frankly […] does not take us very far". He said that what a national strategy would do would be to bind the national and regional museum services together and "create a real movement of staff, movement of resources and proper loans".[296] The Association of Independent Museums (AIM), which also participated in the collaborative group, has also expressed disappointment at the outcome of the consultation which, it says, "has not led to a national museum strategy after all".[297]

156. Ms Sue Wilkinson, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, said that the one thing the document had done to date was to establish a sense of priorities for the museums sector, and the MLA had a very clear opportunity to work with the sector to expand on those and then to drive forward the action plan for delivering them. She believed that having a document which was both for national and regional museums was important and "if there could be a shared sense of goals and priorities for all museums that would be really significant". [298]

157. The museums sector sees clear value in having a strong strategic plan which takes account of the needs as well as the potential of the whole sector. Whether or not a national strategy would fulfil the hopes of the sector, the consultation exercise has had a beneficial effect in focusing the attention of DCMS and the sector as a whole on the challenges museums now face and how these may best be addressed.

Storage and stewardship

158. If we care about our collections, we must also take proper care of them. Evidence to the inquiry demonstrated the high importance which museums attach to the stewardship, including conservation and storage, of their collections. There was a degree of frustration that the standards maintained are not always as high as museums would wish, principally because of limited resources—in expertise as well as finance. This is not a sterile debate "pitching collections against learning", but a question of balance as expressed by the former Secretary of State, Lord Smith of Finsbury: "Conservation and the care of collections is vitally important in ensuring that our past will be available for future generations to learn from and understand. After all, if the collections were not available, it would not be easy to adapt the education programmes to new needs. As always, it is important that there is a balance between stewardship of our heritage, care and access".[299] As several witnesses said, there is little point in collecting material if it is not properly cared for, and museums and galleries have a long-term duty of care to ensure that collections are looked after properly so that future generations will be able to access them.[300] Collection care tends to be one of the less visible areas of museum work,[301] and there was a wide perception that care of collections has fallen to the "bottom of a very long list of priorities".[302]

159. There was hopeful anticipation that the forthcoming museum strategy would set specific objectives and priorities for collections care, raise standards across the sector and identify clearer funding sources specifically for improving collections care.[303] When, just before DCMS published Understanding the Future: Priorities for England's Museums, we asked the director of the British Museum what he would like to see as priorities,[304] the first thing he said in reply was "the need to conserve and research the collections, so that the collections can really play the role across the whole of the United Kingdom that they should". But there has been disappointment at the lack of emphasis on stewardship in Understanding the Future, which does say that it "is implicit that in making more effective use of museum collections, we must also consider how they are managed and cared for" but makes no further mention of obligations of stewardship.[305]

160. There has been no comprehensive audit of our museums' collections but it has been estimated that there may be 200 million objects on display and between 120 million and 150 million objects in storage.[306] Cambridgeshire County Council told us that museum acquisition policies have left a legacy of full stores and problematic catalogues.[307] In its response to Understanding the Future: Museums and 21st Century Life, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council said that "a museums strategy must place the care and development of collections at the very core of its mission. New approaches to storage and the increased exposure of collections through display outside a normal museum setting and through loan collections are all vital and need to be encouraged".

161. New purpose-built storage facilities, many of which have been made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, are now providing a solution to the storage problem in a number of areas. Many of these allow for open storage, providing better access to stored material for researchers and the public as well as improved environments in which the collections are less likely to deteriorate. Also they free up space at the museums' principal sites, which can then be used for extra displays or educational facilities.[308] Shared storage schemes make it more possible for museums to afford the running costs of the facilities. [309]

162. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery told us that 90% of the Museum's collections had been relocated to a single off-site storage facility where they were stored in conditions which were "acceptable" or "better".[310] During our visit to North East England and Glasgow we saw several very successful variations on this theme. We visited Beamish Museum where the Regional Museums Store accommodates large objects from both Beamish and Tyne & Wear Museums' collections, and organised tours enable more than 80,000 visitors to see them each year. These include Tyne & Wear's designated collection of large maritime, science and industry objects. Other museums in the region may apply to store objects in the Store, for example when their own buildings are being refurbished. The Regional Resource Centre at Beamish houses smaller items from both museums' collections and has mobile racking and a dedicated access team making the collections accessible to the public. The Centre has a collections room where local history groups, students, schoolchildren, researchers and staff can make use of objects from the store.

163. In Glasgow we visited Glasgow Museums Resource Centre a new purpose-built museum storage facility and visitor centre which includes 6,000 square metres of environmentally controlled storage space, housing collections ranging from fine art to botanical specimens. It housed all Kelvingrove's collections during the restoration of the museum and continues to hold the reserve collection. A second building is due to be completed by April 2008, more than doubling the storage capacity. Our hosts emphasized that the centre was more than just a store, and it had been a breakthrough for the investment to extend to specialist workshops and studios—and the specialist staff to work in them—providing care for the materials. They also told us that the "learning room" was extremely popular, being used by 12,000 people every year and always being booked up long in advance.

164. We welcome the development of shared and open storage facilities, such as those which we visited at Tyneside and Glasgow. We urge the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to ensure that high priority is given to the care of collections in their forthcoming action plan.

3   See the definition adopted by the Museums Association at Back

4   Museums Association Ev 1, DCMS Ev 231 Back

5 Back

6   DCMS Press notice 139/06 Back

7   DCMS Ev 232 Back

8   DCMS Ev 231, University of Oxford Ev 155, University Museums Group Ev 158,  Back

9   DCMS Ev 232 Back

10   MLA Ev 218, DCMS Ev 231 Back

11   MLA Ev 218 Back

12   MLA Ev 217 Back

13   MLA Ev 217 Back

14   Tyne & Wear Museums Ev 115 Back

15   MLA Ev 217 Back

16   Museums and Galleries in Britain: Economic, Social and Creative Impacts, by Tony Travers of the London School of Economics 2006 pp15 and 47 Back

17   DCMS Ev 233 Back

18   Dr Maurice Davies, Deputy Director of the Museums Association, Ev 6 Q8 Back

19   DCMS Ev 234 Back

20   V&A Ev 14, the British Museum Ev 12, Mr Mark Jones, Director of the V&A Ev 22 Q23, National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 350 Back

21   V&A Ev 14 Back

22   V&A Ev 14 Back

23   British Museum Ev 12, V&A Ev 15 Back

24   NMDC Ev 351 Back

25   PCS Ev 378, NMDC Ev 351, The Committee recognised this factor in its 2002 report, National Museums and Galleries: Funding and Free Admission, First Report of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 2002-03, HC 85  Back

26   National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 351  Back

27   NMDC Ev 351 Back

28   NMDC Ev 351 Back

29   Ev 18 Back

30   Museums and Galleries in Britain: Economic, Social and Creative Impacts, by Tony Travers of the London School of Economics 2006 p8 Back

31   Speech at Tate Modern, 6 March 2007  Back

32   The Theatre Museum: Consultation Paper April 2006 Back

33   Equity Ev 298, Save London's Theatres Ev 382, The Society for Theatre Research Ev 388 Back

34   Ev 29, Ev 25 Q33 Back

35   Ev 30 Back

36   Ev 31 Back

37   Museums Association Ev 2, Renaissance in the Regions: a new vision for England's museums, 2001 MLA, Renaissance in the Regions: the Impact on Independent Museums: Briefing paper prepared by Egeria Heritage Consultancy for the Association of Independent Museums, 2006 , Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004 p21 Back

38   Yorkshire Museums' Hub Ev 118 Back

39   DCMS Ev 235 Back

40   Ms Helen Wilkinson, Policy Officer of the Museums Association Ev 6 Q6, University of Oxford Ev 156 Back

41   Ms Olivia Morris Policy and Campaigns Officer at the National Trust Ev 150 Q154 Back

42   The Visual Arts and Galleries Association Ev 403 Back

43   The Museums Association Ev 1 Back

44   The Museums Association Ev 1  Back

45   The Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries Ev 336, West Midlands Regional Museums Hub Ev 417, Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 118 Back

46   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 118 Back

47   West Midlands Regional Museums Hub Ev 417 Back

48   DCMS Ev 235, Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 118 Back

49   A Renaissance in England's museums is making them fit for the 21st century, MLA Press notice 1 November 2006 Back

50   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 119, London Museums Hub Ev 326, Leeds City Council Museums & Galleries Ev 323 Back

51   Mr Mark Wood, Chairman, MLA Ev 226 Q324 Back

52   North West Museums' Hub Ev 360 Back

53   Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries, Ev 337  Back

54   Ev 293 Back

55   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 118, East of England Museums' Hub Ev 293 Back

56   Ev 390 Back

57   Ev 226 Q321 Back

58   Ms Sue Wilkinson, Director of Policy and Advocacy Ev 226 Q320 Back

59   Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries Ev 336, North West Museums Hub Ev 363, London Museums Hub Ev 326 Back

60   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 120 Back

61   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 121, Mr Nick Dodd Ev 126 Q134 Back

62   Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 120 Back

63   Ms Sue Wilkinson Ev 225 Q320, Yorkshire Museums Hub Ev 121, Mr Alec Coles Ev 126 Q134 Back

64   Mr Mark Wood, Chairman, Ms Sue Wilkinson, Director of Policy and Advocacy , Mr Chris Batt, Chief Executive, Ev225 Q320 Back

65   Ev 252 Q359 Back

66   Secretary of State's speech to the Museums Association Conference, 23 October 2006  Back

67   Mr Bill Ferris Ev 150 Q155, Bede's World Museum Ev 427 Back

68   Warwickshire County Council Ev 409 Back

69   Ev 149 Q154 Back

70   Ev 149 Q154 Back

71   Ms Nichola Johnson, Director of the University Museums Group Ev 160, Q167, Dr Michael O'Hanlon Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Ev 160 Q167 Back

72   Ev 154 Q165 Back

73   Mr David Wilson Ev 150 Q154 Back

74   Ev 137 Back

75   Ev 308 Back

76   Bede's World Museum Ev 427-8 Back

77   DCMS Ev 232 Back

78   DCMS Ev 238 Back

79   DCMS Ev 238 Back

80   Tyne & Wear Museums Ev 104 Back

81   Moving to Museum Trusts: Learning from Experience, MLA March 2006 Back

82   Ms Janet Barnes Chief Executive of York Museums Trust and Mr Nick Dodd Chief Executive of Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust Back

83   Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust Ev 122, Ev 129 Back

84   Mr Nick Dodd Ev 129 Q150 Back

85   Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004, para 4.17, Sir Nicholas Goodison Ev 174 Q203 Back

86   Ev 129 Q147  Back

87   Ev 129 Q147 Back

88   Ev 129 Q150 Back

89   Ev 122 Back

90   Ev 122 Back

91   Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004, para 4.17 Back

92   Moving to Museum Trusts: Learning from experience, MLA, 3 March 2006  Back

93   ibid para 1.319 Back

94   Stoke on Trent Museums Service Ev 393, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Ev 270 Back

95   GoSLAM Ev 309 Back

96   Harrow Times 18 May 2007  Back

97   Museums Association Ev 2, Stoke on Trent Museums Service Ev 394 Back

98   Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004, para 4.15 Back

99   Institute of Conservation Ev 65, Arts Council England Ev 260, East of England Museums Hub Ev 292, Stoke-on-Trent museums Service Ev 394,Warwickshire County Council Ev 408 Back

100   Museums Association: Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II, Ev 245 Back

101   Dr Maurice Davies, Deputy Director, Museums Association Ev 6 Q8 Back

102 Back

103   HL Deb 1 March 2007 column 1641,  Back

104   Bolton's Museums, Libraries and Archives Services: An Economic Valuation, February 2006 Back

105   Research Study conducted for the MLA, March 2004 Back

106   Dr Maurice Davies, Deputy Director, Museums Association Ev 6 Q8 Back

107   Ev 271 Back

108   Ev 64, GoSLAM Ev 308 Back

109   Manchester City Council Ev 327, West Midlands Regional Museums Hub Ev 419 Back

110   Warwickshire County Council Ev 408 Back

111   Ev 308 Back

112   Ev 233 Back

113   University Museums Group Ev 158 Back

114   Statement on the provision of core support for university museums and galleries, January 2005 Back

115   Museums Association Ev 2, Back

116   Museums Association Ev 2 Back

117   Dr Michael O'Hanlon, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum Ev 161 Q173, University of Oxford Ev 156 Back

118   Ev 159 Back

119   Ev 159 Back

120   Ev 159 Back

121   Ev 160 Q167 Back

122   Dr O'Hanlon Ev 160 Q167 Back

123   Ev 160 Q167 Back

124   Ev 159 Back

125   Ev 159 Back

126   Heritage Lottery Fund Ev 182 Back

127   HLF Ev 183 Back

128   HLF Ev 183 Back

129   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 165 Back

130   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 164 Back

131   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of Session 2005-06 HC 912-I, para 66 Back

132   East of England Museums' Hub Ev 292 Back

133   East of England Museums' Hub Ev 292 Back

134   Ev 321 Back

135   Ev 328 Back

136   Ev 308 Back

137   HLF press notice 23 October 2006 Back

138   HLF Ev 182 Back

139   Ev 183  Back

140   Ev 191  Back

141   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-6 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 166; Managing National Lottery Distribution Fund balances, Report by the National Audit Office, HC 875, Session 2003-2004 Back

142   Ev 183 Back

143   The Guardian, 23 April 2007  Back

144   In the 2004 Spending Review the Government announced that the grant in aid to NHMF would rise from the current £5m per annum to £10m by 2007-08. Back

145   HLF Ev 181 Back

146   HLF Ev 181 Back

147   HLF Ev 182 Back

148   Oxford University Museums Service Ev 158 Back

149   Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004, para 4.22 Back

150   Ev 174 Q200 Back

151   HLF Ev 185 Back

152   DCMS Press notice 111/06 Back

153   MLA Ev 216 Back

154   MLA Ev 216 Back

155   MLA press release 30 March 2004 Back

156   Arts Council England Ev 260, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Ev 418 Back

157   DCMS Ev 240 Back

158   V&A Ev 18 Back

159   Museums and Galleries in Britain: Economic, Social and Creative Impacts, Tony Travers, London School of Economics, 2006,p 8 Back

160   Museums and Galleries in Britain: Economic, Social and Creative Impacts, Tony Travers, London School of Economics, 2006,p 31 Back

161   PCS Ev 377  Back

162   DCMS press notice 152/06 Back

163   Mr Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, Ev 22 Q24, Mr Lammy, Minister for Culture Ev 252 Q357 Back

164   Mr Bill Ferris Ev 151 Q157 Back

165   Culture, Media and Sport Committee, First Report of Session 2002-03 HC 85 para 69 Back

166   The Waterways Trust Ev 413 Back

167   Ev 413 Back

168   Lancashire County Council Ev 320, Mr Bill Ferris Ev 151 Q157 Back

169   Lancashire County Council Ev 320 Back

170   See above, para 42 Back

171   Ev 412 Back

172   How have museums and heritage sites responded to Gift Aid, 24 hour museum, 2 July 2006 Back

173   How have museums and heritage sites responded to Gift Aid, 24 hour museum, 2 July 2006 Back

174   Ev 2 Back

175   Ev 152 Q159 Back

176   Ms Olivia Morris Ev 153 Q159 Back

177   Speech For Museums Association Conference, 23 October 2006 Back

178   National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 350, Greater London Authority Ev 306, London Museums Hub Ev 325 Back

179   Ev 214, Mr Chris Batt, Chief Executive, Mr Mark Wood, Chairman Ev 227 Q328 Back

180   West Midlands Museums Hub Ev 417 Back

181   The National Campaign for the Arts Ev 344 Back

182   V&A Ev 19 Back

183   Ev 9 Q18 Back

184   HLF Ev 183 Back

185   Ev 191 Back

186   Ev 191 Back

187   HLF statement in response to an announcement of a further £90million diversion of Lottery funding to the heritage to the 2012 London Olympics & Paralympics 15 March 2007 Back

188   MLA press release 16 March 2007  Back

189   The British Museum Ev 12, NMDC Ev 354  Back

190   The British Museum Ev 12 Back

191   Ev 19 Back

192   Ev 397 Back

193   Dr Saumarez Smith, Director of the National Gallery, Ev 25 Q38 Back

194   V&A Ev 16, National Gallery, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 258 Back

195   NMDC Ev 352 Back

196   V&A Ev 16 Back

197   Ev 174 Q202 Back

198   The Collecting Challenge: The Art Fund Museum Survey 2006 Back

199   Ev 352 Back

200   Ev 16 Back

201   Ev 396 Back

202   Ev 113 Back

203   Ev 403 Back

204   New Research From The Art Fund Warns That Our National Museums Are In Danger Of Losing Their Place On The World Stage, Art Fund press notice  Back

205   The British Museum Ev 12, The National Gallery, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 259 Back

206   British Museum Ev 12 Back

207   The National Gallery, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 259 Back

208   The National Gallery, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 258 Back

209   Ev 348 Back

210   Ev 166 Back

211   Ev 387 Back

212   Ev 17 Back

213   Ev 328 Back

214   Ev 415, Ev 417 Back

215   Ev 417 Back

216   Ev 418 Back

217   Ev 113 Back

218   Ev187 Q247 Back

219   Ev 254 Q363 Back

220   Museums and Galleries in Britain: Economic, Social and Creative Impacts, Tony Travers, London School of Economics, 2006 p 23 Back

221   Ev 427 Back

222   Farrer & Co, solicitors, whose specialities include advising museums Ev 302 Back

223   Ev 168 Back

224   Arts Council England Ev 262 Back

225   Ev 397 Back

226   The Art Fund, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 255 Back

227   Securing the Best for our Museums: Private Giving and Government Support, January 2004, para 7.2 Back

228   Tate press release 1 March 2007 Back

229   Tate was subsequently offered the painting at a reduced purchase price of £4.95m, following the application of eligible tax remissions. Back

230   Ev 195 Q279 Back

231   Mr Mark Wood, Chairman of MLA, Ev 228 Q333 Back

232   Ev 241 Back

233   The Market for Art, Sixth Report of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 2004-05 HC414 Back

234   Ev 396 Back

235   Ev 155 Q166, see also Mr Mark Jones, Director of the V&A Ev 27 Q43, the National Council on Archives Ev 80, Tyne & Wear Museums Ev 113, 114, the National Trust Ev 135,138, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest Ev 167, members of the Goodison Review Group Ev 172, Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Ev 187 Q250, Mr David Barrie, Director of the Art Fund, Ev 195 Q 279, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Ev 215, Arts Council England Ev 260, Association of Chief Archivists in Local Authorities Ev 264, Farrer & Co Ev 301, National Campaign for the Arts Ev 344, National Maritime Museum Ev 348, National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 352, Visual Arts and Galleries Association Ev 405  Back

236   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 158 Back

237   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 158 Back

238   Ev 172 Q 184 Back

239   Ev 172 Q 186 Back

240   Ev 175 Q 208 Back

241   HL Deb 30 October 2006 GC54 Back

242   Ev 173 Q 197 Back

243   Ev 255 Q 368 Back

244   Mr Mark Wood, Chairman, Ev 228 Q 334 Back

245   Ev 304 Back

246   British Museum Act 1963, ss3,5,9 Back

247   Section 47 Back

248   Seventh Report of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, Cultural property: return and illicit trade, HC 371 Back

249   First Report of Culture, Media and Sport Committee,Session 2003-04: Cultural objects: developments since 2000, December 2003 HC 59, paras 59-62 Back

250   Report of the Spoliation Advisory Panel concerning a claim in respect of a 12th century Manuscript now in the possession of the British Library, HC 406, 2005 Back

251   Ev 282 Back

252   First Report of Session 2003-04: Cultural objects: developments since 2000, December 2003 HC 59 Back

253   Ev 28 Q53 Back

254   Report of the Spoliation Advisory Panel in respect of a painting now in the possession of Glasgow City Council, 2004 Back

255   The great giveaway, Museums Journal October 2006 Back

256   Ev 7 Q9 Back

257   Bury Times, 23 November 2006 Back

258   Ev 308 Back

259   Ev 7 Q10 Back

260   Ev 4 Back

261   Ev 4 Back

262   British Museum Ev 13, FDA Ev 300 Back

263   FDA Ev 300 Back

264   Ev 4 Back

265   Ev 243 Back

266   The Art Fund Ev 192 Back

267   Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Ev 268 Back

268   Ev 397 Back

269   e.g. Leeds City Council Museums and Galleries Ev 323, Stoke-on-Trent Museum s Service Ev 396  Back

270   The Art Fund Ev 192 Back

271   Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 294 Back

272   Mr Mark Jones Ev 28 Q48 Back

273   Dame Liz Forgan Ev190 Q264 Back

274   Mr Fred Hohler, Chairman, Ev 206 ,Q285 Back

275   Public Catalogue Foundation, Protecting and Preserving our Heritage, Third Report of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Session 2005-06 Written Evidence HC 912-II Ev 298 Back

276   Ev 206 Q283 Back

277   Ev 10 Back

278   e.g. the National Trust Ev 143, MLA Ev 216, Leeds City Council Museums and Galleries Ev 323, Manchester City Council Ev 329, Heritage Railway Association Ev 379 Back

279   DCMS Back

280   V&A Ev 21 Back

281   V&A Ev 21 Back

282   V&A Ev 21 Back

283   National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 356 Back

284   National Museum Directors' Conference Ev 356 Back

285   National Museum Directors' Conference, response to Understanding the Future: Museums and 21st Century Life Back

286   Stoke-on-Trent Museums Service Ev 396 Back

287   The National Trust Ev 135 Back

288   The National Trust Ev 135 Back

289   The National Trust Ev 135 Back

290   The National Trust Ev 139 Back

291   Ms Helen Wilkinson, Policy Officer, Museums Association Ev 5 Q1 Back

292   Renaissance in the Regions: the Impact on Independent Museums: Briefing paper prepared by Egeria Heritage Consultancy for the Association of Independent Museums, 2006 Back

293   Ms Sue Wilkinson, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Ev 223 Q315 Back

294   Ev 127 Q136 Back

295   Ev 128 Q139 Back

296   Ev 162 Q179 Back

297 Back

298   Ev 223 Q314  Back

299   see Stewardship: a report by Crispin Pain for the Heritage Lottery Fund and Re:source, July 2000 Back

300   Stoke-on-Trent Museums Service Ev 396, Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries Ev 337 Back

301   Institute of Conservation Ev 76 Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Ev 270 Back

302   PBD Consulting Ev 370, ICON Ev 64, West Midlands Regional Museum Hub Ev 416  Back

303   The National Trust Ev 135 Back

304   Ev 21 Q20 Back

305   Mr Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive ICON Ev 82 Q97 Back

306   PBD consulting Ev 370 Back

307   Cambridgeshire County Council Ev 278  Back

308   Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Ev 269 Back

309   Tyne & Wear Museums, Response to Understanding the Future Back

310   Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Ev 269 Back

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Prepared 25 June 2007