By Isobel Turner, News Subeditor
Bristol City Council is currently faced with a £19.5 million funding gap, which may lead to the museums and archives sector losing over 10 per cent of its annual funding.
Plans to cut spending on council services, including the museums and archive service, come as a result of Bristol City Council's significant funding gap for the next financial year.
The council is proposing a £436,000 cut to museums and archives to help bridge this gap. This figure represents more than 10 per cent of the funding for Bristol’s museums, galleries and archives.
At full @BristolCouncil Meeting Tues15Feb approval being sought for budget cuts across city to meet unavoidable financial targets – inc proposed £436,000 p.a. cut to budget for Museums & Archives Service.— Museum Lover (@bristolfemuse) February 10, 2022
Friends BMGA press release challenging proposal:https://t.co/Q5GPvo1d5T pic.twitter.com/jgUPc4cPOk
A full council meeting will be taking place this Tuesday where the budget for the next 12 months is expected to be presented. It is currently unknown whether they will go ahead with these cuts to the museums and archives service.
The museums and archives service works with seven free-to-enter visitor sites across Bristol. These are: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Blaise Museum, Bristol Archives and Kings Weston Roman Villa, The Georgian House Museum, The Red Lodge Museum and M Shed. Under the new budget, some of these sites may introduce adult admission fees.
After the statue of Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into Bristol’s harbour in 2020, a report has found that public opinion is in favour of displaying the statue in the city’s museum. https://t.co/SKbR4qhpDl— Epigram (@EpigramPaper) February 13, 2022
The Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives charity group have stated that, despite Mayor Marvin Rees saying it was a ‘no frontline cuts budget,’ there will be a devastating impact on the cultural service in Bristol.
Chair of the independent charity group, Sue Thurlow, said: “The cuts will inevitably reduce the ability of the museums to put on big and successful exhibitions which bring visitors from the local area and beyond, such as the current Grayson Perry’s Art Club and the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
“The museums and galleries are vital to Bristol's post-pandemic recovery, bringing people back into the city and attracting high-spending visitors to Bristol.
Sue Thurlow stated that “the Council must reconsider these planned cuts because the damage caused to the museums and archives will be felt across the city and beyond for years to come.”
The full statement from the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives can be found here.
Featured Image: Epigram / Greg Evans
What do you think about the proposed funding cuts to Bristol's museums and archives sector?