HC Deb 21 February 1940 vol 357 cc1390-1W
Captain Markham

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that from information collated by the Museums Association over 20 per cent. of all museums and art galleries have closed their doors since the outbreak of war; and whether, in view of the necessity for continuing cultural services at the present time, he will consider issuing an appeal to local authorities and other governing bodies urging that wherever possible these institutions should be reopened?

Mr. Lindsay

I gather from the information published in "The Museums Journal" that the number of museums and art galleries which have been closed since the outbreak of war is over 20 per cent. of the total. The powers of the Board of Education in regard to museums and art galleries are very limited, but I am entirely in sympathy with the desire of my hon. and gallant Friend that these institutions should be reopened wherever possible, and I should be glad to discuss with him the best means of effecting this. The Board of Education have given a leadin the matter by the reopening of the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums.

Captain Markham

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when it is proposed to reopen the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh?

Mr. Colville

In present circumstances I can give no definite date for the reopening of the museum to the general public. Special arrangements are, however, made where possible to allow facilities for the study of the available collections by scientific workers, students and small parties of school children under supervision.

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