UK

'Difficult Decisions' Needed To Secure Navy Museum's Future

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is receiving emergency funds from the Government after closing during the coronavirus lockdown.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) says a "fundamental overhaul" of its financial model will need to take place, despite being set to receive emergency Government funding.

An enforced closure during the coronavirus lockdown has led to losses in income for the museum, with changes required to ensure its long-term future, according to its director general.

The museum had been left with a shortfall of more than £6 million prior to the Government funding, but will now look to reopen its sites in Portsmouth, Gosport, Hartlepool and Yeovilton.

HMS Victory in Portsmouth is one of the attractions looking now to reopen (Picture: National Museum of the Royal Navy).

The NMRN says it receives 19% of its funding from central Government, compared to other national museums which it says receive as much as 80%.

"It has been incredibly difficult over the last weeks and months with so much uncertainty around the future of the museum," said Dominic Tweddle, Director General for the NMRN.

"We are incredibly grateful to HM Treasury, [the] MOD and the Royal Navy for all of their support and also to all of those who have advocated on our behalf."

"We are disproportionality dependent on the generosity of donors and our admissions income just to survive.

"When our museum colleagues were able to welcome back visitors from 4 July... we were not even able to confirm if we would reopen at all.

"I simply cannot see why the historic ships and collections we care for, are not treated with the same significance as those in the care of our National Museum peers.

"Is our naval history not of equal value?

"We are realistic that, whilst this [new funding] is welcome, difficult decisions will still need to be made to ensure that we will still be here next year and the year after," Mr Tweddle added.

"The only real solution is a fundamental overhaul of our funding model, something I intend to pursue in the coming months."

The NMRN's will announce the new dates for the reopening of some of its sites in the coming weeks.

However, its site in Belfast is set to remain closed for the rest of 2020.

Cover image: The museum on board HMS Warrior in Portsmouth is also looking at reopening (Picture: National Museum of the Royal Navy).