Cash Crisis for Culture; FUNDING CUTS RISK TO MUSEUMS

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN PEARSON

TYNESIDE museums could face a battle for survival when huge funding cuts are made, it has been warned.

Major exhibitions may be axed and opening hours reduced as ministers tighten the purse strings.

Mark Taylor, director of the national Museum Association, said Tyneside faced a double blow as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport prepares to make a 25% budget cut, while councils await news of huge funding reductions.

Mr Taylor said that once arts groups in Tyneside knew the result of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October they would be asked to set out plans for drastic savings.

These will likely include reduced opening hours and only a limited amount of cash for major exhibitions, he said.

One other option would be to close key venues one day a week to save money.

Tyne & Wear Museums and Archives group - which includes sites such as the Discovery Museum, the Great North Museum and the Laing Art gallery - would consider site closure as a last option, Mr Taylor said.

"When you look at Renaissance in The Regions funding, which Tyne & Wear receives, we know that is getting cut," he said. "And a much greater percentage of money comes from local government, and pounds 1m or so from the DCMS, and these are all getting reduced. …

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