Booth Museum Threats

Proposed cuts could lead to a weekly 3-day closure.

Proposed cuts could lead to a weekly 3-day closure.

You may or may not know via the Argus that we are possibly being severely effected by the savings that Local Authorities are having to make.

It has been proposed that we close an additional 2 days, making our total weekly closure 3 days, which is purported to make staff savings (security staff not having to be on duty). Cutting front-line services is not a good idea and we are concerned that once this has happened it will be difficult to reverse in the future – a thin wedge would have been inserted that could lead to more cuts in the future. In addition my colleague who retired two years ago has been working ½ time for the past couple of years and is now having to leave at the end of March and there is no immediate sign of replacement, although I am told that this is not the case.

The Booth had 4 ‘professional’ (science/nat.hist trained) staff from 1974 to about 1995, this was then reduced to 3 and then to 2 now it is 1 … With all the associated management  and Local Gov. stuff I have to deal with it means that I have had less and less time to do what a natural scientist should do in a museum of this stature (hence my lack of attendances at meetings, involvement with things  etc). I’ve had to give up some areas of work – sadly including Recorder work for B&H. All a bit gloomy.

It might help if you could, should you think it worth it, lobby the museum boss and her boss to help prevent these cuts. Any support we can get would be greatly appreciated. I’d also be grateful if you could spread the word about this and suggest others do like-wise.

The persons to email are:
janita.bagshawe@brighton-hove.gov.uk
scott.marshall@brighton-hove.gov.uk
or even the Chief Exec.
john.barradell@brighton-hove.gov.uk
and of course a letter to the Argus would also help – as it has in the past.

Thanks,

Gerald

Dr Gerald Legg
Keeper of Natural Sciences

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2 Responses to Booth Museum Threats

  1. Owen says:

    Sad to read that cuts are being made at the booth museum. I have linked to this post from my blog –

    http://www.20three.com/2010/01/booth-museum-of-natural-history/

  2. petergolton says:

    This was published on the council website on 14th Jan 2010. Sounds like good news after all.

    No cutbacks to History Centres

    Leading councillors have rejected proposals to move the Brighton History Centre and reduce opening hours at the city’s natural history museum.

    The moves were included among £660,000 of savings for next year from the council’s culture department. About £100,000 would have been saved by the changes.

    However council leader Mary Mears has now ordered that money is diverted from any discretionary spending, such as advertising budgets, to keep the facilities operating as they are.

    Under the original proposals, main resources at the History Centre, in the museum building in Church Street, would have moved to Jubilee Library. They would then shift to Falmer when a new historical resources centre called The Keep opens there.

    The Booth Museum of Natural History in Dyke Road was to have had its opening times cut from five and a half days to three and a half.

    Councillor Mears said: “Since this was proposed the level of affection for these services has become very obvious, so I’ve taken the decision to redirect some of our discretionary spending towards keeping these centres open. We are faced with a tough financial situation so we’ve got to ensure that we are using public money wisely.

    “I envisage keeping the History Centre where it is until The Keep opens.

    “This decision demonstrates that the council takes these issues very seriously, that we listen carefully and then implement policies designed to reflect public opinion. Nobody at the council wants to reduce any services. But lack of government funding is forcing us into these difficult choices.”

    Councillor Mears also proposes to set up an independent commission to look into the future of the city’s museums.

    Councillor Mears said: “An independent commission will work with the city council to look at how the city’s museums can be funded and managed into the future. We face increasing pressure every year to find workable solutions, so the best thing to do is involve some of the city’s experts to help shape the future of our museums.”

    An announcement was made today at the council’s cabinet meeting.

    Over 1100 people have signed an e-petition against the History Centre move on the council’s website.

    Officials stress the council will still press ahead with enhancing local and family history provision at Jubilee Library, by providing access to online and microform resources, plus additional books. Resources at the library also have the advantage of seven day opening.

    Meanwhile the authority is seeking volunteers to join a Local and Family history support group which can work with staff to develop services, including provision at the History Centre, Jubilee Library and the emerging Keep records office.

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