Comprehensive Spending Review – British Museum budget announcement

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Although we know the next four years will be difficult, we understand that museums must play their part in helping to reduce the national deficit and we will be considering carefully the impact these reductions will have.

This will be done in a planned and strategic way to minimise any impact on the visitor and future activities. Alongside this we will continue to build and develop our income generation through philanthropy and commercial enterprise.

We want to continue to ensure the largest possible audience is able to see the collection in London, across the UK and around the world.  The Museum in London received over 5.6 million visitors last year and a further 14 million visited the collection online.

Neil MacGregor said “We are pleased that Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey have recognised the unique role museums play in the world today and reaffirmed their support of free admission.  We are also particularly encouraged that they have reconfirmed the government’s support of the British Museum’s planned new World Conservation and Exhibition Centre, a crucial investment in the British Museum’s future ability to work across the UK and the world.”

Notes to editors:

  • Alongside all museums funded by the DCMS the British Museum will absorb a 15% cut over four years to its resource budget.

  • The British Museum’s Partnership UK is the largest network of any national museum that comprises of seventeen major partner museums in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the nine governmental regions of England, including London. Collaborative activities, programmes and loans are undertaken with many more museums and organisations around the UK, in addition to the major partners. Over the last two years the British Museum has lent nearly 5,000 objects to 300 UK venues – the Museum is, literally, a lending library for the whole of the UK and beyond.

  • The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre will house state-of-the-art laboratories and studios for the conservation, preservation and research of the collection, a new special exhibitions suite, world-class stores for the study of the collection as well as facilities to support the Museum's extensive national and international loans programme. These new facilities will enable the Museum to enhance its educational role and greatly increase the amount of training it is able to provide to institutions and colleagues in the UK and internationally.


For further information, contact Olivia Rickman in the press office on 020 7323 8583 or