UK Museum Storage Costs Millions

Storage costs for art in British Museums is costing over a million pounds per year. A Freedom of Information request put in by the BBC resulted in the finding. “The British Museum spent £86,280 in 2009 and 2010, mothballing 99% of its collection, in storage.” Many museums in the capital keep an average of 90% of their collections stored away with a mere 10% on view. The Museums Association says, in regards to the economic climate, National Museums facing funding cuts of 15%, are urged to place more of their hidden collections on permanent display to the public. In this era of cuts, fewer blockbuster exhibitions will be mounted and it would be logical to exhibit works in storage as a cost effective way of mounting fresh exhibitions. Most museums will point out that their collections are available for viewing by special request to academics. Also the fragile nature of some of the pieces must be taken into account by keeping them in a protected enviornment. It is also noted that many of the items stored are loaned to other collections world wide, some exchanged with other museums, sometimes generating revenue for the institutions involved.



 Other Museum Storage costs

The Tate (Modern, Britain, St Ives and Liverpool) expects to spend £465,500 on storage by the end of the financial year.

The Natural History Museum  £45,928 on storage space for 95% of its specimen collections.

The Imperial War Museum reduced its storage costs in 2010 from £8,731 to £3,351 and the National Gallery and the Science Museum (not including subsidiary museums outside London) do not hire any storage space for their collections but do have objects out of

National Maritime Museum  spent £142, 361 on storing 93% of its 4,000 paintings and 70,000 prints and drawings because so much of it was fragile.






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