October 27, 2011
In the face of UK public spending cutbacks, more & more people are questioning the free museum admission policy. Certainly, it is nice for everyone to be able to use them for free, but does this sometimes occur to the detriment of the visitor experience?
We need to start charging for museums and galleries again
Reintroducing entrance fees for the great collections should be a plank of government arts planning
The Observer, Sunday 6 March 2011
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent is, according to author AN Wilson, “the greatest museum in the world”. Its ceramics collection is rivalled only by the V&A, its Arnold Bennett archive is bettered only by the British Library and its Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasures is second only to the British Museum.
But while it is free to visit the V&A, the British Library and Museum, an entrance fee is set to be charged in Stoke. Across the country, eye-watering cuts to local authority budgets mean that councils are either closing museums or ratcheting up charges. Last week, artist Anish Kapoor accused the Tories of having a “castration complex” about the arts. Yet, in the midst of this, the teeming London museums continue to enjoy a state subsidy to retain free admission.
Read the rest of this entry »