Welsh museums 'have to fight for survival’ in 2014

First published in Monmouthshire news

THE biggest challenge Welsh museums face this year is survival, according to the woman in charge of heritage and culture service transformation at Monmouthshire council.

Rachael Rogers, who is also the president of the Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales, made the comments in an article for the Museums Journal.

She wrote there will be “huge” funding cuts, particularly for those museums operated or supported by local authorities.

“Project funding will increasingly be used to carry out what were previously core activities,” she wrote.

“In turn, less core funds will mean juggling grants from the few sources available.

“We will be fine-tuning our arguments about the importance of museums, which is essential if we expect politicians to support us while having to cut statutory services.”

Museums run or supported by local government previously had the security of a guaranteed yearly budget, but they are now looking to independent museums for guidance, she said.

Museums will have to look at “commercialising while retaining core values” and could branch out into hosting weddings or charging for entry.

Merging councils, as recommended in the recent Williams Commission report, could bring opportunities and better-resourced, larger services, she said.

“However, a sense of place is particularly strong in Wales, and while museums are good at creating this, new boundaries will challenge these ideas,” said the article.

If individual museum collections are under threat, collaboration and sharing could be the answer, she added.

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