HC Deb 12 May 1908 vol 188 cc933-4

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education what were the terms of reference under which the small temporary committee for the arrangement of the Art Museum at South Kensington was appointed; whether any executive powers were conferred upon the committee; whether the evidence given by the specialists called in to advise the committee will be made public; and whether experience in the arrangement of art museums and interest in art apart from industrial production were taken into account in the composition of the committee.


The committee was appointed to prepare "a scheme of arrangement for the whole of the art museum which will provide the greatest facilities for study primarily to those interested in the commercial manufacture of objects of the kinds represented in the collections, such as craftsmen, designers, manufacturers, and students; and, secondly, to those interested in art without regard to its relation to industrial productions, such as artists, students of art, of history, of manners and customs." No executive powers have been conferred on the committee. It is improbable that any formal evidence will be taken, but opinions expressed by the gentlemen who may be asked to help the committee will be recorded. The committee are able to avail themselves of the experience of the officers of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and are also investigating the most modern systems of arrangement adopted in the leading foreign museums. With regard to the composition of the committee, I may say that my predecessor considered, and I fully concur in his view, that for work of the kind entrusted to this committee it was important that the number of members should be small, and that interest in matters of art as well as practical experience of the advantage derived from the museum by manufacturers and craftsmen should be looked for in those asked to serve on the committee. The members of the committee, in my opinion, combine these qualifications in a high degree.