Recession may force UK museums and galleries to charge visitors entrance fees

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National museums and galleries could be forced to reintroduce admission fees to survive the recession, according to the man who led the campaign to scrap them.

David Barrie, director of The Art Fund, an independent art charity, warned that visitors to institutions like the Science Museum and the V&A may once again face entry charges as many establishments feel the effects of funding cuts.

Admission fees to 11 of the country's leading national museums and galleries were scrapped in 2001, after a four-year campaign by The Art Fund to give non-charging institutions the right to reclaim VAT from the Treasury.

Earlier this month, The Art Fund conducted a survey of more than 300 museums and galleries, including the V&A and Tate galleries together with smaller, independent organisations across the country, which found that in times of strife, more of us feel in need of cultural refreshment.

It showed an average 12 per cent increase in visitors to all museums in the six months to March, with increases of up to 40 per cent at some attractions, a trend that is expected to rise over the summer as more people choose to holiday in the UK.

But the research also found that two thirds of museums have had their budgets cut in the last six months, with most of those believing the worst is still to come.

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