National Museums Liverpool’s funding situation is “getting worse” and it may have to consider closing galleries, charging entrance fees, and making even more job cuts, according to its Director Dr David Fleming.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Fleming said that the organisation is unlikely to meet the £3 million worth of funding cuts necessary without severely impacting on visitors, staff and the city of Liverpool itself.
National Museums Liverpool attracted over three million visitors last year. It runs numerous venues in Liverpool and Wirral, including: the new £72 million waterfront Museum of Liverpool; World Museum; Walker Art Gallery; Lady Lever Art Gallery; Sudley House; Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum.
Almost 600 people are employed by the organisation, but it has been reported that one in four workers could lose their jobs as it struggles to make the necessary savings after losing 15 per cent of its government funding.
Commenting on the funding situation, Fleming told the local newspaper: "Our museums have just had their most successful year ever. But like everyone else in the public sector we’ve been hit by severe funding cuts.
"Fifteen months ago we had to close the National Conservation Centre to visitors and over the past year we’ve lost 34 jobs through voluntary severance and early retirement.
"The funding situation is very bad and it’s getting worse. It’s not possible to make the required savings without taking action that will have a significant impact on our visitors and staff. We’ll continue to look at alternatives but job losses are unavoidable.
"We will try to keep our museums open to the public. But it’s with immense regret that we’re considering closure of display galleries, fewer exhibitions and admission charges for special exhibitions and events.
"A scaling down of our activity is bad for the economy of the city. Visitor figures will fall and this means fewer people spending money in the city’s restaurants and hotels.
"The irony is that our museums are a key reason why visitors are drawn to Merseyside yet we have no option but to scale down what we do.”
If you would like to comment on this story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish your thoughts and opinions.
Phase Two of the new Museum of Liverpool opens after Queen's visit
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh yesterday officially opened the new Museum of Liverpool and were treated to a sneak preview of the four new galleries that have opened to the public today (2 December).
Museum of Liverpool now open, thanks to local lad
The new Museum of Liverpool has opened its doors for the first time today (19 July 2011) with a little help from a six-year-old schoolboy.