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Wednesday, September 16, 1998 Published at 01:39 GMT 02:39 UK


Millennial visions for UK museums

The Tate Gallery will benefit from free entry in the millennium

A new report on UK museums and their place in the 21st Century is to be launched at the London Transport Museum.

Called New Visions for Museums in the 21st Century, the report was commissioned by the Association for Independent Museums (Aim) and will be launched by Lord Puttnam, the Labour peer and museum activist.

Among its recommendations are a national quality grading scheme for museums and a membership organisation similar to that developed by the National Trust.

The report also calls for a reconsideration of the spending plans announced by the government.

Rethink on millennium funding

In July, the government outlined its vision for UK museums in the millennium by announcing details of 290m of extra funding for arts, museums and galleries.

[ image: Culture Secretary Chris Smith wants to widen access to UK museums]
Culture Secretary Chris Smith wants to widen access to UK museums
The money is intended to go towards helping major national museums to establish a universal entry fee by the year 2001, while children should get free entry by 1999 and pensioners by 2000.

Although the government plans were welcomed by many, the Aim report supports a rethink.

It says that the government objectives benefit the "already privileged few", by subsidising free entry to a small number of national museums in central London.

New Visions says the government's objectives and the report's recommendations could be "better achieved by a modest reallocation of some money" which would benefit many other museums around the UK.

The Aim was set up in 1976 by a group of directors and curators of new independent museums.

Its purpose is to improve standards in independent museums, to represent their interests and contribute to national policy making.

Independent museums are those managed outside the traditional framework of central or local government.

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