Museums cut 90 jobs and may close Cardiff building

Wales’ national museums will axe at least 90 jobs after a big cut in their funding, and more may still go, says the head of the organisation. One of its best known buildings, National Museum Cardiff, may also be forced to close because of its deteriorating condition, warned Jane Richardson.

The chief executive of Museum Wales – which has seven sites around the nation – spoke of the “extremely difficult” task of dealing with a £4.5m reduction in its budget.

The Welsh government said it was making “extremely difficult decisions” due to its own budget being £700m less in real terms than it was in 2021.Ms Richardson told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement that the museums would also charge visitors for special events such as tours and exhibitions, and close earlier in the winter.

Museum Wales has had a £3m reduction in its grant, but it said that because it continues to incur a year-on-year deficit of £1.5m, it had to address a total deficit of £4.5m by the end of March.

Ms Richardson said the museum only heard what the cut would be just before Christmas “so it’s been extremely difficult for my whole team to make a change on that scale within a matter of weeks”.

She said 90% of costs were for staff, and she had “never ever known anything like this” at any of the organisations where she had worked.

Ms Richardson did not give an exact figure for the number of jobs going at the organisation, which, according to the museum website, has more than 600 staff and about 1.8 million visitors a year.

But she added: “I always said that to get to the kind of number that we needed to we would be looking at at least 90 jobs and that has proven to be the case, but we’re still not at a total figure yet.”She said there was a “massive” problem with the condition of National Museum Cardiff.

“Unless we’re able to secure more funding for that building that that will have to close,” she said.

The chief executive said Cardiff council had already shut the next door building, City Hall, which is the same age and had “exactly the same problems as us”.

“So when you have water coming through and failing electrics, there is a question hanging over the future of that building anyway.”

She said unless there was more money for the Cardiff museum – which houses “extraordinarily special objects” – it could close.

“I mean we would obviously then be looking at where else we could have a presence in Cardiff. And, you know, there’ll be all sorts of conversations about how we did that.

“But we are really clear as an organisation that that building needs urgent critical work for us to be able to continue opening to the public.

Ms Richardson said museum officials were “being as positive as we can about this massive budget cut”, with a restructure and a new strategy to get more income.

Source: BBC

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