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The Closing of Museums

Nature volume 96, pages 680682 (17 February 1916) | Download Citation



A PROTEST against the closing of museums (including art galleries) was made to the Prime Minister on February 10 by a deputation representing the Museums Association, the National Art Collections Fund, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Hellenic Society, the Art Workers' Guild, and the Imperial Arts League. Mr. As-quith, emphasising the need for economy in every direction, explained that the Government had not accepted the recommendation of the Retrenchment Committee in full, since, in addition to the Reading Room of the British Museum, it had decided to keep open the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In view of the numerous colonial visitors and wounded soldiers who resorted to the Natural History Museum, a further concession might be made. “I have,” said Mr. Asquith, “come to the conclusion that the portions of the museum which most interest ordinary visitors should remain open, but I do not think that the argument applies to the geological and mineralogical sections. In addition, I hold that facilities should continue to be offered to students at the museum.” It was further made plain that the closing had nothing to do with the question of safety; also that the authorities of provincial museums were at liberty to do what they thought best. The galleries and the students' rooms (except that of Manuscripts) at Bloomsbury will be closed on and after March 1. As for the Natural History Departments, it remains to be seen which will be closed by the trustees as not Interesting ordinary visitors.

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