Bradford museums success

Visitor numbers up but opening hours under threat

Bradford’s museums have boosted visitor numbers despite cuts to staff.

A report to Bradford City Council shows that 17,000 more people have visited the district's four Council run museums in 2017 than in the previous year.

The city’s museums budget has been cut from £ 3 million in 2014/15 to £1.8 million in the latest financial year, 2018/19, while staff numbers have fallen from 83.1 full time equivalent in 2011 to 47.1. 

Further cuts of £260,000 are planned in 2019/20 and the report warns that in further cuts in funding could lead to reduced opening hours for museums and art galleries.

In 2017/18 the district's museums and galleries welcomed 229,000 visitors, up from 212,000 the previous year.

The most popular museum was Cliffe Castle in Keighley which attracted 72,812 visitors - up from 53,289 the previous year. The opening of the David Hockney Gallery saw a 30 per cent rise in visitors to Cartwright Hall, up from 47,839 to 62,826 in a year. However, Bradford Industrial Museum saw a drop in visitor numbers, 58,438 in 2017/18 compared to 59,961 in 2016/17.

The report says that budget reductions have cut school holiday family activities and reduced the number of outside exhibitions.

"This does put additional pressure of the small curatorial team and this area has to be closely monitored. Site operational and public opening times have been reviewed and amended where possible to reduce public opening times. Further reductions in opening times can not be ruled out due to low levels of front of house staffing."

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