Madness That Has Put Our Greatest Treasures in Peril; the Cash Crisis Now Facing the British Museum Has Been Caused by Misguided Government Policies

By Moore, Rowan | The Evening Standard (London, England), May 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Madness That Has Put Our Greatest Treasures in Peril; the Cash Crisis Now Facing the British Museum Has Been Caused by Misguided Government Policies


Moore, Rowan, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: ROWAN MOORE

REMEMBER the Lottery? Remember the billions that were to be handed out to the nation's longstarved temples of culture? Or the vague feeling, when you paid your pound for the little pink slip, that you were not only buying a modest fantasy of what you might do with [pound]16 million, but you were also contributing to "good causes"? If so, you may be baffled by the news that the ultimate and original temple of culture, the British Museum, is gasping for air like a stranded whale. Or, to be more precise, like a Great British Industry collapsing in the dim and distant 1970s. There is a [pound]5 million deficit and staff cuts of 15 per cent are planned, with the inevitable accompaniment: rumbles of discontent from the unions, and the threat of strikes. How can Dame Lottery have let this happen?

The British Museum has the collections to make it, with the Met in New York and the Louvre in Paris, one of the three great museums in the world. It is also visited by three million tourists a year, a quarter of all visitors to London, which makes it a showpiece for the capital and for the country. If it is dim and dusty and closed for business, it makes the whole nation look bad.

Meanwhile, that thing that was really meant to impress Johnny Foreigner, the Dome, plus the valuable land around it, has been offloaded for precisely no money up front. This is rubbing Siberian quantities of salt into the wounds.

The British Museum would be pathetically grateful for the amount it has cost to look after the Dome for the 18 months since it closed, while a way was found of saving the Government's face. Of the [pound]600 million of Lottery money spent on it in the first place, it is too painful even to speak. Nor is it just the Dome: the land is littered with glassy, Lottery-funded Museums of Something-or-other, that will never come close to doing what the British Museum does for the country.

If you ask a Government apparatchik why the Lottery boom has left the British Museum in this state, you will be told that the Lottery was only ever for capital projects, and that the current crisis is one of revenue. They present this as a fact of nature, rather than something over which human beings might have some control. They might also say that the museum was handsomely funded by the Lottery to build its Great Court development, as indeed it was. More reluctantly, they might concede that the museum's annual subsidy from government has been cut by 30 per cent over a decade.

But these answers only lead to further insanity. The museum was almost obliged to spend money on construction, as the departure of the British Library from its heart left a hole that had to be filled, which could only add to running costs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Madness That Has Put Our Greatest Treasures in Peril; the Cash Crisis Now Facing the British Museum Has Been Caused by Misguided Government Policies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.