Horniman and Geffrye vow to survive despite funding cuts

Two major local museums which will lose their Government grants in five years have rejected suggestions that they are likely to face closure as a result.

The Geffrye Museum in Hackney, which focusses on domestic interiors and the Horniman Museum in Lewisham, which has anthropological and natural history collections,  are the latest cultural institutions to suffer from the severe government cuts to arts funding.

They are among seven institutions which the Department of Culture, Media and Sport  says it will not support after 2015. Their budgets will be cut by 15 per cent in the intervening period.

However the Government has made it clear that the museums will not be ‘cut adrift’ if alternative means of funding have not been found.

David Dewing, director of the Geffrye Museum, in Haggerston, said the reports of closure were ‘misleading,’ and added: “There is no cause for alarm. People are concerned, which is good.”

A spokeswoman for the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, also criticised ‘misguided’ press coverage suggesting the museums may face closure,.

She said: “The DCMS is exploring options for transferring our subsidy to another administrative body. We are going to remain open. We are just not sure about the way we are going to be administered.”

The DCMS said it was already examining ways of effective sponsorship  through alternative bodies and that even if the museums fail to find an alternative sponsor, they will not be left completely adrift.

A DCMS statement said:  “There is no question of cutting these museums adrift without any financial support in the unlikely event that no new sponsorship arrangements can be found.”

Discussions regarding the Horniman are at an early stage and no decisions have been taken. The Geffrye will continue to be governed by a Board of Trustees and administered by a public body at arm’s length.

The DCMS said the department was in discussions with all the museums and a number of potential sponsors but decisions were not likely to be announced until March next year.

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