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Welsh Assembly Government draft budget: response by David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales

Amgueddfa Cymru today (Friday, 19 November 2010) responded to the news that it is to receive a cut in Revenue Grant in Aid over the next three years. David Anderson, Amgueddfa Cymru’s new Director General said:

“Amgueddfa Cymru – like many other publicly funded institutions - will face an unprecedented period of austerity over the next few years.

“Through this budget, however, the Welsh Assembly Government has recognized that culture and heritage are vitally important to the people of Wales and reaffirmed its commitment to enable Amgueddfa Cymru to maintain the free entry policy and continue with normal opening hours as well working in partnership with local museums and galleries across Wales.

“We have exciting plans for the future and we will be focussing our efforts on ensuring that they will go ahead as planned.

“Our major projects include the opening of the National Museum of Art as well as phase one of the revamping of the natural history galleries at National Museum Cardiff by July 2011.

“We aim to follow this by redeveloping St Fagans over the next 10 years - an exciting project at the heart of the Welsh tourism economy that will benefit the whole of Wales. We are grateful that the Welsh Assembly Government has confirmed its support for investing in the future of this iconic visitor attraction.

“Whilst the funding available will curtail our ability to purchase artefacts for all seven national museums, we will, however, re-double our efforts to secure other sources of funding to develop the collections.

“It’s nearly a decade since the Welsh Assembly Government made a commitment to fund free entry to our seven National Museums, and the recession has seen an increase in visitors to our museums. We welcomed a total of 1.64 million visits during 2009-10 (+9.4% above target), including over 400,000 formal and informal education visits, representing the second best year on record. There is, therefore, an even greater demand for our services, particularly from those people who are most affected by the economic downturn.

“Our seven national museums have a leading role to play in culture, heritage and tourism, education and skills, and driving local economies. We will continue to prioritise the maintenance of each Museum’s services for the public through lively programming and exhibitions, despite resources for these being hit hard.

“Meanwhile, Amgueddfa Cymru has already undertaken intensive planning work over the last two years to implement efficiencies and savings in order to prepare for a decrease in our budget from 2011-12 onwards, including a voluntary redundancy exercise and a reduction in energy costs. We will continue to try and find ways of operating more economically and efficiently.”

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.

Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales sites is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Ends

For more information please contact Catrin Mears, Corporate Communications Officer on (029) 2057 3185/07920 027067 or email catrin.mears@museumwales.ac.uk.

Date: 19 November 2010
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