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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 December, 2003, 16:22 GMT
Museum drops entry fee
The council subsidy for Urbis increased to 1.5m this year
Manchester's struggling museum of the modern city has dropped its entry fee in a bid to attract more visitors.

On Saturday the 5 charge was removed after the 30m Urbis attraction failed to reach its 200,000 predicted number of paying visitors during the first year it was open.

The move also comes after Manchester City Council increased it's annual subsidy to the museum from 1m to 1.5m in July this year.

Managers of the attraction - the centrepiece of Manchester's Cathedral Quarter - believe visitor numbers will triple with entry being made free.

Creative director Scott Burnham told BBCi Manchester: "We want people to.. feel free to spend as much or as little time here as they want."

'Dynamic content'

He said that 200,000 people have now visited the museum, since it opened in June 2002.

"What people want now is much more dynamic exhibitions, much more dynamic content and creative explorations of urban culture and that's what I'm here to give people," Mr Burnham added.

The museum's public subsidy has caused regular controversy, with the Liberal Democrat group on the council calling it "unacceptable" and arguing the money should be spent on more important projects.

'Instantly recognisable'

Ian Simpson, the architect who designed the building, has also criticised the attraction saying its contents should be improved. Earlier this year he also called for entry to become free.

However, council leader Richard Leese said the museum had earned its investment because it is "stunning".

"It is outstanding, futuristic and instantly recognisable," he said. "And at the same time it fuses so well with our history and heritage.

"Urbis is a vital marketing tool in the future promotion of Manchester.

More funds for struggling museum
17 Jul 03  |  Manchester
Director leaves 30m museum
03 Mar 03  |  England
Museum of the modern city opens
27 Jun 02  |  England


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