Birmingham Museums Could CLOSE As £500k Cuts Hit City

The warning comes from the Birmingham Museums Trust, which runs many of the museums and historic houses across the city.

Huge spending cuts could see Birmingham's history closed to the public by the end of the year.

It is feared nine centres could face the axe including ThinkTank and even Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The warning comes from the Birmingham Museums Trust, which runs many of the museums and historic houses across the city. The threat comes from the city council plans to make £500,000 funding cuts this year.

Staff are now drawing up worst-case scenarios for the funding cut which could include cuts in opening hours, staff cuts, increased admission charges and even the full closure of some sites.

Regular free entry to the Museum and Art Gallery could be under threat. Sub-letting spaces could also be considered.

Bosses have launched an online petition and campaign urging council bosses to reconsider the funding deal ahead of next month’s budget setting meeting. The sites at risk include:

  • Thinktank Science Museum.
  • Aston Hall
  • Blakesley Hall
  • Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
  • Sarehole Mill
  • Soho House
  • Weoley Castle
  • Museum Collection Centre

If the cut goes through it means the subsidy will have been slashed from £7 million five years ago to £2.4 million next year. It has replaced much of the shortfall through generating extra income, commercial sponsorship, increase use of volunteers - around 700 people give free time each year and the loans of exhibits, such as the celebrated Staffordshire Hoard, to other museums. Museum Trust director Ellen McAdam said: 

“We understand the city is in a difficult position, but with cuts as severe as these we have no option but to look at reductions in service across all our sites.

“We want to ensure that Birmingham remains a leading city for arts and culture, and continues to thrive.

"Birmingham Museums Trust is one of the city’s success stories and we believe that it is vital that Birmingham’s great museums and collection should continue to receive the investment they need so that we can build on this achievement.

"We hope the public support shown for Birmingham Museums Trust will raise awareness of how detrimental these cuts would be for the city.”

The museums attracted a combined total of 1,272,070 visitors during 2015/16 and earned £2.2 million in admission charges. It is seen as a crucial part of the city’s cultural economy which returns an estimated £30 income to the city for every £1 invested through jobs created and spending by visitors.


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