The Guardian‘s Beef With Free Museum Admission Part 2

Poussin's The Adoration of the Golden Calf after it was sprayed with red paint at the National Gallery. Photograph: Steven Dear. Via The Guardian.

Last week, following the defacement of a Poussin painting in London’s National Gallery, Guardian blogger Jonathan Jones wrote that instituting admission fees would enable museums to pay for increased security. He also implied that charging for museums would discourage visitation by the kind of people who deface priceless masterpieces.

Thankfully, Florence Waters in The Telegraph shot him down.

So he wrote a new piece saying that in the face of major budget cuts, charging admission is a better solution than deaccessioning works from a museum’s collection:

I think free museums are a great British tradition, but I don’t want these museums to decay. Charging for entry is a better remedy than selling paintings, closing galleries or sacking staff. Might it even give visitors a keener sense of the value of some of the greatest experiences it is possible to have?

Oooook. I agree that closing galleries and firing dedicated museum staff should be avoided.

But woof. If someone can’t afford to pay the entrance fee to a museum then they aren’t going to get to see the object anyway. If deaccessioning is done transparently and well, it can even clarify a museum’s collection in addition to providing much-needed financial support.

Hmm. To charge or not to charge? Stay tuned for Part 3.

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