Funding Crisis Threatens All Museums, Warns Art Charity

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A LEADING art charity today forecast that museums could die out in the long-term as a direct result of government neglect.

The Art Fund unve i led research that it said exposed a real crisis in art funding caused by the Government's strong emphasis on improving access and social inclusion at the expense of supporting museum collections.

In a survey of more than 300 museums - the first authoritative study of collecting - the Art Fund found that 60 per cent of museums allocate no funds at all for adding to their collections.

Seventy per cent of British museums said the main source of acquiring is by gift, while only two per cent said collecting new works of art was their top priority.

The Art Fund also revealed that the amount of annual government subsidy for the county's five major national museums - National Gallery, Tate, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum - has declined from [pounds sterling]7.8 million a decade ago to [pounds sterling]660,000 - 90 per cent.

David Barrie, director of the Art Fund, said: "There has been a consistent lack of political support for collecting art at local and national level. …