Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill - Image by Pictoria Pictures-Derby Museums

Cuts at Derby Museums could have ‘devastating effect’ says Executive Director

Image: Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill - Image by Pictoria Pictures-Derby Museums

Reduced staffing hours and closures are to be considered if a 10% cut to the trust’s funding are implemented by Derby City Council.

Proposed cuts in council funding to Derby Museums may force it to reduce staffing hours or close sites altogether, its Executive Director has warned.

The charitable trust operates three museums: the Museum and Art Gallery, Museum of Making and Pickford’s House.

In an open letter, Executive Director Tony Butler wrote that the combination of increased prices and Derby City Council cuts could have a “devastating effect”.

For the next financial year 2023-24, the trust has been asked to accept a cut in its annual grant of 10% from £710,000 to £639,000, a figure which includes an £80,000 recharge to the council IT and HR teams.

Butler said the trust expects at least a 100% increase in the costs of electricity and gas, and that this increase combined with the proposed cuts could force it to explore cost-cutting options.

These include “site closures, reduction in opening hours and staffing, discontinuing of free family activities and the introduction of admission charges.”

A council spokesperson told the BBC that it “recognises the importance of culture and vibrancy to our city and the role it plays in our ambition for Derby.

“But due to a perfect storm of rising costs and inflation, the council has to make an unprecedented level of savings to balance its budget.

“Regrettably we are having to ask all our services to reduce their budgets by 10%.”

Butler said “the current financial model leaves little headroom and as things stand, I fear we may ‘run out of road’”, and has urged Derby residents to respond to a consultation on the proposed cuts.

Butler said Derby Museums has “done the right thing” in recent years, having delivered the 2022 Art Fund Museum of the Year finalist Museum of Making, alongside a wider skills programme and cultural programme.