Following four months of closure at the museums and galleries managed by organisation – Discovery Museum, Great North Museum: Hancock, Laing Art Gallery, Stephenson Steam Railway, Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort, South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, Hatton Gallery, Segedunum Roman Fort and Shipley Art Gallery – finances have been significantly damaged.
While acknowledging that the organisation is “very fortunate to receive funding from local authorities, Newcastle University and the Arts Council”, Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, says Covid-19 has “seriously reduced” its ability to generate commercial income that is “vital to meeting the costs of running our venues and delivering programmes for our communities”.
In addition to savings made during lockdown and Culture Recovery Fund support, the organisation has calculated that a further £220,000 would be required to support the delivery of its core offer. This will be sought by asking the public to donate £2, £12 or £22 a month or whatever they can afford during their next visit.
“We have been blown away by the loyalty and support we have seen from the people of Tyneside during these strange times. People have really missed our venues and have been delighted to visit them again. Now more than ever, we believe art, culture and heritage sits firmly at the heart of the North East and we’d be very grateful if everyone who loves our venues helps us to keep it there by making a donation,” Watson adds.
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums venues ordinarily host over 1.2 million visits a year and engage with 75,000 school children through educational activities.
More information about the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums appeal can be found here.