HC Deb 29 March 1999 vol 328 c512W
9. Mr. Day

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to encourage free admissions to local museums and galleries. [77377]

Mr. Alan Howarth

The revenue funding of local museums is outside the remit of my Department and is a matter for the governing bodies of those museums. However, museums which are registered with the Museums and Galleries Commission can apply to the £7 million HLF Access Fund. Also, for the first time, my Department is spreading its financial support to museums beyond those which it directly funds by means of a £15 million challenge fund for Designated Museums, the majority of which are outside London. By these means we are seeking to raise standards for, and access to, pre-eminent non-national collections.

28. Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact on museum attendance of introducing free entry for children. [77397]

Mr. Chris Smith

It is too early to give a precise indication of the impact of introducing free entry for children which I launched for museums funded by my Department at the Natural History Museum this morning.

However, the experience of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which introduced free access for children at the end of January (at the same time as a major temporary exhibition about dinosaurs), is that child admissions have risen by over 80 per cent.