I spent much of the last fortnight spending a small fortune traipsing round half empty museums in Tuscany. From afar I read the increasingly contested debates around the philosophy and affordability of the policy free admission to some museums in the UK.
When I was growing up in the 1980s, my parents never took me to museums and art galleries. They thought they were expensive, stuffy, unwelcoming and ‘not for the likes of us’. If they were around today they’d have a different experience. A generation of museum leaders has made them relevant, intriguing and provocative. Since 2000 the policy of free admissions to National Museums (or those sponsored by the Department of Media Culture and Sport (DCMS)) has removed many of the economic barriers to visiting.
In UK cities some museums funded by local government are free and were long before the Nationals. Some ‘civic museums’ charge. For example flagship…
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