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National Museums

Volume 173: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1990

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To ask the Minister for the Arts how many qualified accountants are employed by each of the national museums; and when each institution was last audited.

I am advised that the number of qualified accountants currently employed by each of the national museums is as follows:

British museumnil
Imperial war museumnil
National maritime museum1
National museums and galleries on Merseyside2
Natural history museum1
Science museum3
Victoria and Albert museum1
All national museums are audited annually by the National Audit Office, the last time being 1989.

To ask the Minister for the Arts how many staff were seconded from national museums to regional institutions and vice versa during 1989.

I understand that during 1989 four national museums staff were seconded out to regional institutions; and that two members of staff from regional institutions were seconded to work in national museums. I welcome exchanges of staff of this kind.

To ask the Minister for the Arts how many outreach programmes by national museums were initiated (a) to schools and (b) to regional museums during 1989.

Detailed information on outreach programmes by national museums initiated during 1989 are not held centrally, but the following cases are examples of the wide range of programmes undertaken to schools and regional museums last year.The British museum provided teachers' packs, training aids and professional advice to about 6,000 teachers individually and in connection with about 2,000 schools groups visiting the museum. The museum's two travelling exhibitions "Celtic Britain" and "Thomas Rowlandson Prints" toured to four regional venues.The natural history museum's travelling discovery centre was initiated last year in conjunction with sponsorship from the Clore Foundation.The science museum undertook an extensive programme of 10 travelling exhibitions to 29 venues during 1988–89.The Victoria and Albert museum loaned a total of 1,875 objects to 184 venues, of which three were schools and colleges, during 1989.In addition to these examples the Museums and Galleries Commission's travelling exhibitions unit is actively encouraging national museums to regularly tour their temporary exhibitions to regional venues.