Miscellany | Published:

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Nature volume 96, pages 654659 (10 February 1916) | Download Citation

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Abstract

SINCE we went to press last week the report of the Committee on Retrenchment, which led the Government to decide on the closing of museums, has been published. We have not space here to analyse its arguments, but this is the less necessary since they were speedily countered in a letter to the Times of February 4 by “A Biological F.R.S.” This seems to have closed the newspaper discussion, and we are now waiting to see the effect of to-day's deputation to the Prime Minister, organised by the Museums Association. Among the speakers will be Lord Sudeley, Sir Ray Lankester, and the director of the National Museum of Wales. The petition to be presented has been signed by leading men in all parts of the country The provincial museums recognise that the action of the Government is intended as an example for them to follow, and they fear that they may be subjected to pressure through the Local Government Board. They will not, however, submit without a protest, and that protest will be made on purely patriotic grounds, for the municipal and other museum authorities know very well the admirable educational work that is being carried on among all classes of the population by their institutions. It is not only in London that our soldiers-are deriving pleasure and profit from the museums at Colchester; for example, the presence of soldiers in training has raised the annual attendance from 29,564 to 339,933, to which latter figure must be added some 18,000 for Sunday afternoons in the winter months. Meanwhile, it is stated by the Neue Freie Presse that in Germany and Austria all libraries, museums, and picture-galleries are open as usual, and the reasons-given for closing them in this country are regarded as “a declaration of moral bankruptcy,” more striking, than the economic weakness which so fatal and futile a decision is held to reveal.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/096654a0

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