Museum will fight on despite funding blow

Dr Margaret Faull OBE. Director of the National Coal Museum for England.'w1350a011
Dr Margaret Faull OBE. Director of the National Coal Museum for England.'w1350a011

The National Coal Mining Museum for England will stay open and free to enter despite the budget cuts announced by the government on Wednesday.

The Overton museum’s director, Dr Margaret Faull, said the cut of five per cent for national museums would leave NCMME needing to find new ways to raise money.

And she said she could not be sure how it would affect the attraction until its funders, the Science Museum Group, had decided how it would react to Chancellor George Osborne’s latest round of cuts.

But she ruled out closing the museum or charging visitors for entry as a way of balancing the books.

Dr Faull said: “This cut is exactly what we expected and will mean trying to find further ways of raising money.

“We don’t want to charge for entry as visitor numbers would drop.

“A 10 per cent cut would have been devastating, and we would have had to look at closing on certain days or over the winter months.

“But, at five per cent, we will find ways to raise the money. We’ll need to have a management meeting and look at all the options.”

Dr Faull wants to encourage people to use the museum’s conference facilities, which bring in extra cash.

And she said there were also plans to build a children’s playground on the site that visitors would be pay to use.

She added: “We will certainly be asking the public for more donations.”

Earlier this month, the future of the Caphouse Colliery museum was thrown into doubt after the Science Museum Group announced it faced a large deficit in 2014.

City MP Mary Creagh and Wakefield Council leader Peter Box both raised concerns about the impact of the government’s Spending Review on the future of the museum.

Ms Creagh said she did not want a return to “the bad old days” of museum entry fees.

And Coun Box said the museum was a crucial part of the country’s history and for “keeping the industry’s heritage alive for all generations to learn from”.