British Museum Cut Opening Hours From January
In order to cope with government budget cuts, late-night opening to the permanent collection at London’s ‘Favourite Museum’ will be stopped on Thursday and restricted to one evening a week on Friday. British Museum Staff recruitment will be reduced as a result and savings made.The refreshments for internal meetings has also been halted immediately and staff are being asked for money-saving ideas, according to a memo leaked to the Public and Commercial Services Union.Other proposals include a massive recruitment drive for new museum supporters, restrictions on telephone and BlackBerry use, and a cost-conscious effort to go green.Like other national institutions, the museum was hit by a three per cent cut, totalling £1.8 million, after the May general election — when it was already too late to change the exhibition programme. Immediate action included deferring building work and reducing the acquisitions budget.Director Neil MacGregor warned that opening hours — and even the cherished free admission — were under review. The museum has been free to enter since it was established in 1753.New plans are in expectation of “a long-term reduction of grant-in-aid” after next month's government spending review. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is direct evidence that, even before the big cuts have been announced, important services to the public are being hit and managers clearly expect worse to come.“It is essential our cultural life is protected and the universal access provided by free admission is maintained to prevent the arts returning to being a privilege only the wealthy can enjoy.” The PCS is campaigning against cuts.A museum spokeswoman said: “It is our intention to try to minimise disruption to the six million visitors who come here each year. However the planned response to the budget cut will inevitably have an impact on the visitor.” Prearranged Thursday night bookings will be honoured, she added. Late-night opening is until 8.30pm ,But when late-night opening goes to one day a week it will include all museum galleries, as opposed to only some of them under the current regime. This is a great loss which severely limits access to the galleries, especially for working Londoners.