HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc236-7W
Mr. Markham

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he can now make a statement regarding the reopening of national museums and galleries?

Captain Crookshank

The Government asked the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries to consider the question of reopening the national institutions in London which, except for certain library services, had been closed at the beginning of the war. The commission recently rendered their report, and the terms have been communicated to the institutions concerned. The report recommends that, subject to certain conditions, the trustees and other governing authorities of the institutions should be permitted to arrange a limited opening of the buildings for special exhibitions, and the Government have accepted the general principles of the report.

The decision as to whether any particular institution should be reopened rests with the trustees or other governing authorities, but I should make it clear that the Government are not prepared either to bring back for exhibition pictures or other treasures which were evacuated for purposes of safety at the outbreak of war, or to sanction any abnormal expenditure due to the reopening.

In accordance with the recommendations of the commission, the Victoria and Albert Museum has already been partially reopened, and I understand that certain other museums are likely to be opened shortly.

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