Science Museum Group Cut Backs

LSWR Cavalier

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Not sure that ten quid covers the cost, seems a bit perverse to drive to York mind, or if driving not to park in the suburbs and walk a whole mile

Many of us would be glad to pay for admission to the NRM, I suggest
 
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Darandio

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Not sure that ten quid covers the cost, seems a bit perverse to drive to York mind, or if driving not to park in the suburbs and walk a whole mile

Many of us would be glad to pay for admission to the NRM, I suggest

Cover the cost for the museum as a whole? Of course not. But 150-180 cars daily at a tenner to park on a barren concrete area that requires little to no maintenance will certainly provide a decent income stream.
 

T J

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Plenty of the museums in London are national museums and obviously in case of railways, York. Should these national museums have reduced or free entry only for people living in London or York respectively?

As to earlier comments about charging a pound or two for admission or free for certain categories, this will require equipment, staffing and back office admin to operate.

Suppose the 'voluntary contribution' at entry system is easier to and extent and think the NRM and some others do already. Hopefully not like some cathedrals that almost make people guilty for not wanting to contribute and make it as hard as possible to enter without passing a pseudo ticket booth.

At the end of the day, museums are about education as well as fun, so just like we have free education up to age 18 in the UK, so major museums should also be government supported.

To those being made redundant, I hope you can all find new opportunities at these testing times. Best wishes.
Since national museums receive a significant proportion of their funding from the UK Government, UK tax payers are already contributing towards these institutions. If entry charges are introduced, all UK residents should be entitled to free or reduced entry.

With regard to donation boxes, when I worked at a large museum which attracted large numbers of non UK visitors, the average donation equated to 10p per visitor!
 

theironroad

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Since national museums receive a significant proportion of their funding from the UK Government, UK tax payers are already contributing towards these institutions. If entry charges are introduced, all UK residents should be entitled to free or reduced entry.

With regard to donation boxes, when I worked at a large museum which attracted large numbers of non UK visitors, the average donation equated to 10p per visitor!

I'd agree that all UK residents should get free or reduced rate. Bit surprised that the 10p was quite so low but guess anyone will want free if they can.
 

HBP

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Several attractions charge for admission but then give unlimited entry for the rest of the year. London Transport Museum & York Minster are two that I have used frequently in the past. Just keep hold of your ticket.

I doubt I would visit NRM as often if I had to pay each time as I usually just pop in to the use the cafe and the viewing platform. Would happily pay a annual membership for unlimited visits if the price was reasonable.
 

Bletchleyite

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Several attractions charge for admission but then give unlimited entry for the rest of the year. London Transport Museum & York Minster are two that I have used frequently in the past. Just keep hold of your ticket.

The reason for this is that Gift Aid (tax relief) can be claimed on a "membership" but not a one-off entry.
 

Gathursty

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alexl92

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When I park in York, I strive to park here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/C...52a627422f71dc3!8m2!3d53.9615084!4d-1.1037746

It's much cheaper but is a longer but not too long of a walk into the station BUT not a lot of spaces. When I did park once, I had to do a 50 point turn as the last space was a corner and next to a Land Rover. Still worth it xD
I also do this, in the same car park. I know that paying £10/day to park isn't bad if you're also getting free entry as a family of say, 3 or 4. But as an individual it just feels like too much, especially if you know you're probably only going to be there a couple of hours at most, and cheaper parking is available nearby. I guess I don't blame the museum for doing it as it's a legitimate source of income, but I also exercise my right to choose to park further away, pay less and walk!

I have mixed feelings about the idea of charging for entry. I would be willing to pay for entry every time because I have the means, but others do not.

There is actually so little to do in the UK when the weather is bad - look on tripadvisor and most are shopping centres, expensive 'experiences' such as climbing walls etc, or musuems with a significant entry fee. If you are a family of 5 and the main breadwinner has recently lost their job (hypothetically for example due to, say, a global pandemic), having somewhere like this to take the kids and not to worry about having to pay £15/adult and £14/concession (as at 'The Deep' in Hull) would be such a blessing.

I do make a donation when I go, but I have to say that the last time I went, I felt quite pressured into making that 'voluntary' donation; that feels wrong to me. It's been a couple of years since I went but both the food choices and prices in the cafe weren't appealing.

I really hope sensible decisions are made with the redevelopment of the NRM. The artists impressions look good; I hope the way the space is used is wise as I feel that recently some of their re-organisation has diminished the appeal of the musem; especially the south end of the station hall. I'd also love to see Boxhill liberated from the education area and moved to somewhere where the majority of visitors can see it, and I'd love to see better representation of smaller locomotives, especially industruals. There is that lovely tiny shunter in the Great Hall, but that aside there's only 1247 which feels very much pushed in a corner of the station hall. Maybe engines from heritage lines which are out of ticket and awaiting overhaul could be displayed at the NRM for a period of time to add interest?
 

yorksrob

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Several attractions charge for admission but then give unlimited entry for the rest of the year. London Transport Museum & York Minster are two that I have used frequently in the past. Just keep hold of your ticket.

I doubt I would visit NRM as often if I had to pay each time as I usually just pop in to the use the cafe and the viewing platform. Would happily pay a annual membership for unlimited visits if the price was reasonable.

If we have to go to charging for entry, then this is a good idea as it still gives people the chance to dip in afterwards without being chinged multiple times.

I sometimes use the "search engine" library a few times a year and give a small donation each time, however one substantial charge for the year would also work for me.
 

theageofthetra

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Don't forget how much revenue the larger museums have lost this year from being unable to host large corporate events, parties etc. The loss of an entire Christmas Party season could be the final nail.
 

Gathursty

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I also do this, in the same car park. I know that paying £10/day to park isn't bad if you're also getting free entry as a family of say, 3 or 4. But as an individual it just feels like too much, especially if you know you're probably only going to be there a couple of hours at most, and cheaper parking is available nearby. I guess I don't blame the museum for doing it as it's a legitimate source of income, but I also exercise my right to choose to park further away, pay less and walk!

I have mixed feelings about the idea of charging for entry. I would be willing to pay for entry every time because I have the means, but others do not.

There is actually so little to do in the UK when the weather is bad - look on tripadvisor and most are shopping centres, expensive 'experiences' such as climbing walls etc, or musuems with a significant entry fee. If you are a family of 5 and the main breadwinner has recently lost their job (hypothetically for example due to, say, a global pandemic), having somewhere like this to take the kids and not to worry about having to pay £15/adult and £14/concession (as at 'The Deep' in Hull) would be such a blessing.

I do make a donation when I go, but I have to say that the last time I went, I felt quite pressured into making that 'voluntary' donation; that feels wrong to me. It's been a couple of years since I went but both the food choices and prices in the cafe weren't appealing.

I really hope sensible decisions are made with the redevelopment of the NRM. The artists impressions look good; I hope the way the space is used is wise as I feel that recently some of their re-organisation has diminished the appeal of the musem; especially the south end of the station hall. I'd also love to see Boxhill liberated from the education area and moved to somewhere where the majority of visitors can see it, and I'd love to see better representation of smaller locomotives, especially industruals. There is that lovely tiny shunter in the Great Hall, but that aside there's only 1247 which feels very much pushed in a corner of the station hall. Maybe engines from heritage lines which are out of ticket and awaiting overhaul could be displayed at the NRM for a period of time to add interest?

Do you drive a Land Rover?
 

Djgr

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I think free museums and galleries is meant to be the mark of a civilised and educated society.

Of course when you look at the decisions made by the "Great British public" over the past decade you can quickly intimate that this is not the case.
 

ryan125hst

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I hope these cutbacks don't affect the exhibits at the museum, or they don't decide to change the format of the place. I've been visiting since I was a small child but still enjoy visiting just as much now I am in my 20's.

I went to the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester back in 2018 to see Tim Peake's Spacecraft. I had a good day but while walking around with my Mum we realised that certain things were missing. Looking online when we got home, we found that a number of interesting galleries had been closed.

Galleries that have closed are (from Wikipedia):
  • Electricity Gallery - generation, distribution and use of electricity
  • Gas Gallery - past to present look at the gas industry
  • Underground Manchester - sanitation and water supply
  • A space-themed gallery, with exhibits encompassing historical space flight, space science and also science-fiction, formerly took up the majority of the upper balcony of the Air and Space hall. This was eventually considered outdated and removed in its entirety.
I believe the Electricity Gallery, Gas Gallery and Underground Manchester are being replaced by the Special Exhibition Gallery.

Additionally, as of 2019, railway operations at the museum were suspended indefinitely according to Wikipedia. As well as this, they rarely steam the engines in the Power Hall now.

I remember first visiting in around 2004, so I would have been about 9 at the time, and it was fantastic. We saw the steam engines running, had a ride on the train, looked around the above, now closed, galleries. I also visited again briefly in 2012 with my Dad prior to a concert but had limited time so couldn't see everything properly. Sadly we didn't go back until the after the above changes were made and I regret not doing so.

I'm worried that the NRM could face similar changes at some point.
 

harz99

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I hope these cutbacks don't affect the exhibits at the museum, or they don't decide to change the format of the place. I've been visiting since I was a small child but still enjoy visiting just as much now I am in my 20's............



..........Additionally, as of 2019, railway operations at the museum were suspended indefinitely according to Wikipedia. As well as this, they rarely steam the engines in the Power Hall now.

I remember first visiting in around 2004, so I would have been about 9 at the time, and it was fantastic. We saw the steam engines running, had a ride on the train, looked around the above, now closed, galleries. I also visited again briefly in 2012 with my Dad prior to a concert but had limited time so couldn't see everything properly. Sadly we didn't go back until the after the above changes were made and I regret not doing so.

I'm worried that the NRM could face similar changes at some point.
The Shildon outpost of the NRM has already pretty much lost live steam as for two years now there has not been an operational steam locomotive based there on a regular basis, since SMG took over the full operation it has focused largely on school groups and educational matters with little regard for the older age group, or those of us that like our history to be alive. Like you and Manchester, I was a regular visitor to Shildon and indeed live within minutes walk nowadays, since the SMG changes which also included ousting most of the fund raising model and book fairs, I've only been maybe a couple of times a year. Brake van rides behind an 08 diesel shunter or in a 142 pacer unit don't do it for me either!
 

ryan125hst

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The Shildon outpost of the NRM has already pretty much lost live steam as for two years now there has not been an operational steam locomotive based there on a regular basis, since SMG took over the full operation it has focused largely on school groups and educational matters with little regard for the older age group, or those of us that like our history to be alive. Like you and Manchester, I was a regular visitor to Shildon and indeed live within minutes walk nowadays, since the SMG changes which also included ousting most of the fund raising model and book fairs, I've only been maybe a couple of times a year. Brake van rides behind an 08 diesel shunter or in a 142 pacer unit don't do it for me either!
I've only ever been to Shildon once back in 2011 although I don't recall a steam engine operating on that day. It's disappointing to hear that things have changed there also.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Many museums in continental Europe offer free admission one day a week (some in Spain seem to do this on a Sunday) and charge the remainder of the week.

The National Coalmining Museum near Wakefield is free to visit. Those wanting to go on an underground tour pay a deposit (£4 when I visited) for two pit tokens. One has the tour time on it and is collected on arrival at the tour to keep a tally of numbers, whilst the other is a souvenir type token which can be returned after the tour for a deposit refund. Needless to say the museum don't promote this widely, the token makes a nice memento of the tour and provides revenue.
 

Iskra

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The Shildon outpost of the NRM has already pretty much lost live steam as for two years now there has not been an operational steam locomotive based there on a regular basis, since SMG took over the full operation it has focused largely on school groups and educational matters with little regard for the older age group, or those of us that like our history to be alive. Like you and Manchester, I was a regular visitor to Shildon and indeed live within minutes walk nowadays, since the SMG changes which also included ousting most of the fund raising model and book fairs, I've only been maybe a couple of times a year. Brake van rides behind an 08 diesel shunter or in a 142 pacer unit don't do it for me either!

I visited recently and found exactly that (and I'm 30 so not that old...). All the information provided was primary level stuff as if the general public are all primary school kids and incapable of understanding any detail. It's got some nice stuff, but I found better quality descriptions of the exhibits on Wikipedia and other websites on my phone or after I got home. A museum should be a centre of excellence and expertise, and you'd think it would want so share as much of that as possible, not provide a few sparse paragraphs of generalised information. I did feed this back on the survey I got emailed. It was my first visit, but I'd be unlikely to go back. The volunteers were nice and knowledgeable, but talking at length to people at a distance while wearing facemasks is a chore.
 

DavidB

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I visited recently and found exactly that (and I'm 30 so not that old...). All the information provided was primary level stuff as if the general public are all primary school kids and incapable of understanding any detail. It's got some nice stuff, but I found better quality descriptions of the exhibits on Wikipedia and other websites on my phone or after I got home. A museum should be a centre of excellence and expertise, and you'd think it would want so share as much of that as possible, not provide a few sparse paragraphs of generalised information. I did feed this back on the survey I got emailed. It was my first visit, but I'd be unlikely to go back. The volunteers were nice and knowledgeable, but talking at length to people at a distance while wearing facemasks is a chore.

The dumbing down is nothing new - the main NRM in York has been doing this for years.
 

WesternLancer

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The debate about charging for 'National' museums is a long running one, and the pros and cons debated of course
Info here explores the recent history of it, but even then I suspect it is complex (I'd forgotten that not all of them ever started charging, though I recall the NRM did I feel sure)
see some headlines here:

eg
"visitor numbers at many of the free national museums grew spectacularly, while some of the charging museums suffered marked declines. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London introduced a £5 admission charge in 1997 and saw its visitor numbers halved as a result."

and

"The national museums which dropped charges all saw substantial increases to their visitor numbers, an average of 70 percent. In the first year after free admission was introduced visitor figures to the V&A rose by 111 percent from 1.1 million to 2.3 million. In 2009, the Art Fund found that “since free admission was introduced in 2001, visits to previously charging museums have more than doubled, from 7.2 million eight years ago to 16 million last year". Eight out of the top ten UK visitor attractions in 2010 were free national museums. "


The most obvious issue for me about a charge is the distinctive for a short visit. I recall a year or so ago being in York at a work meeting that ended early and allowed me just over an hour in the NRM before it closed. This permitted a whizz round to see some favourite objects, time to buy some food in their cafe to take and eat on the train home, and bought a couple of books in the museum shop.
Would I have done that if I'd had to pay a £10 entry fee? No. I'd have just gone home after the meeting earlier.

And when such places start charging, it's never a couple of quid is it - always seems to go from £0 to £10 ish type of thing!

But indeed in other countries museum charges do seem to be more of the norm (with free days or certain time slots) - but then they often seem to charge for public toilets on the continent too....:rolleyes:

The dumbing down is nothing new - the main NRM in York has been doing this for years.
Sadly seems to be a trend across many museums. I have only in recent years noticed how 'fashion driven' museums seems to be - in that they all seem to go with similar trends at the same time - eg now go with not too much information, or all adopting audio guides, or lots of things you can press or handles to turn round - with invariably the thing connected to said handle/button no longer working properly....or a more recent trend -- what seems like 'less is more' - ie no real need to have lots of objects to look at in the museum, instead better to have large acres of empty space with just a few things in them, all the better to see the expensive architectural results of a large National Lottery funded building I suppose.
Yet the NRMs packed storage area that you can explore is obviously much liked by visitors, or seems to me to be.

I was amused when some friends reported back on the visit to the new V&A outpost in Dundee. Their teenage children remarked that it was nice enough, but would be much better if it had a few more things inside it to see when you went :lol:
 
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43096

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The Shildon outpost of the NRM has already pretty much lost live steam as for two years now there has not been an operational steam locomotive based there on a regular basis, since SMG took over the full operation it has focused largely on school groups and educational matters with little regard for the older age group, or those of us that like our history to be alive. Like you and Manchester, I was a regular visitor to Shildon and indeed live within minutes walk nowadays, since the SMG changes which also included ousting most of the fund raising model and book fairs, I've only been maybe a couple of times a year. Brake van rides behind an 08 diesel shunter or in a 142 pacer unit don't do it for me either!

I've only ever been to Shildon once back in 2011 although I don't recall a steam engine operating on that day. It's disappointing to hear that things have changed there also.
There's plenty of preserved lines that offer a far better experience of an operational heritage railway. The NRM is a museum, which is completely different to a real, working railway.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Also worth bearing in mind how much a free museum will contribute to the local economy via visitor spending. Whilst York has a large number of tourists visiting, places like Shildon probably don’t. A visit to Locomotion might lead to visiting local hospitality venues or shopping centres as part of a wider trip, generating income for these businesses. Liverpool is a good example of where most of the museums / attractions are free or reasonably priced, for example the Mersey Tunnel tour was an absolute bargain at £5.
 

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