Inside the Great Court at the British Museum

Museum closure

A joint statement from Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum and other leading museum directors

We welcome the Chancellor of the Exchequer's declaration of support for the UK cultural sector and announcement of funding for museums and galleries. The government has recognised its duty of care for the national collections, held in trust for the benefit of the people of this country and of the whole world to enjoy and learn from forever.

Our national museums are among the most entrepreneurial in the world and the economic impact of COVID-19 has proved particularly damaging to our finances. Emergency assistance this year will enable us both to care for the collections and secure safe, free access to our galleries.

We now look forward to engaging with the Comprehensive Spending Review to secure a longer-term financial settlement, with a truly sustainable balance of self-generated income and government funding.

British museums and galleries are the anchor of our cultural life, both a key draw for inbound tourism and a central pillar of the UK soft-power strategy abroad. Our spaces share open learning experiences in science, history and the arts for the widest public. Across the country, in partnerships with councils, communities and schools, we boost regeneration, inclusion, and growth.

Only a forward-looking, ambitious partnership with the government, extending beyond the immediate crisis, will ensure our ongoing capacity to promote a truly global Britain and spread opportunity.

Maria Balshaw, Tate

Ian Blatchford, Science Museum Group

Mike Dixon, Natural History Museum

Gabriele Finaldi, National Gallery

Hartwig Fischer, British Museum

Tristram Hunt, Victoria and Albert Museum

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Further information

  • Future exhibition plans will be reviewed once the Museum has reopened. Refunds will be offered if exhibitions are cancelled but we would ask visitors to kindly consider their purchase as a donation to the Museum.
  • Please contact for further information on refunds.