HC Deb 24 February 1964 vol 690 c31W
Mr. Wyatt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will state the names of the museums under his control; and if he will take steps to improve the explanatory matter describing the exhibits in the museums;

(2) under what circumstances it is permissible for non-official persons to take people either singly or in parties around the museums under his control, explaining the exhibits in return for money.

Mr. M. Macmillan

With the exception of the Victoria and Albert, Science and Royal Scottish Museums, which are the direct responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland, the national museums and galleries are all under the control of their own trustee bodies. Treasury Ministers are responsible to Parliament only for the extent of Parliamentary finance for the trustee governed museums and not for their management. It follows that my replies to the rest of the hon. Gentleman's questions will be qualified by this limited responsibility.

As regards explanatory matter for exhibits, if the hon. Gentleman has in mind any particular museum or museums, I will gladly convey his suggestions to the trustee body concerned, or to whichever of my right hon. Friends is directly responsible. As regards guides, nearly all the museums and galleries employ regular guide-lecturers, but I am informed that the general practice is to allow non-official persons to act as guides provided that they do not cause any obstruction or annoyance to other visitors and that they do not tout for custom.