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Saving the museum

The nation’s museums have been hit hard over recent years as budget cuts take their toll on collections, exhibitions and staffing. Whilst cuts are being made by local authorities left, right and centre, do museums need to be saved?

This week Arts Council England published an independent report by the economic and research consultancy, TBR, which looks at the economic impact museums have on local and national economies.

It’s not difficult to see that museums, in all their shapes and sizes, are valued by their communities and are integral to cultural life. Just from walking around the recently launched New Art West Midlands exhibition in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery you’ll see the level of interest from people from all walks of life. The report backs this up having discovered that over half of adults (53%) have visited one or more of England’s 2,635 museums or galleries in the past year.

Other findings included:

  • The museum sector contributes £1.45billon in economic output, generating £3 of income for every £1 of public investment received
  • The sector employs a minimum of 38,000 people and is made up of over 2,600 organisations
  • Museums can work with businesses to the economic benefit of all, as well as the wider local economy
  • Case studies highlight the importance of museums to their local economy, attracting visitors from elsewhere in the UK and the importance of spending by those who have stayed in the UK for their holidays

It’s clear just from these initial findings that the museum sector has a significant impact on the UK economy, but will this new understanding enable them to become even more sustainable ‘businesses’? Here’s hoping.

To read the full report, alongside case studies from the sector, click here.