Museum of Mining digs deep to survive

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THE future of a Yorkshire museum has been secured following months of uncertainty.

Wakefield’s National Coal Mining Museum has been in discussions for several months over a threat to its annual Government funding.

The free-entry museum gets about £2.6m a year, which pays for 100 staff and the substantial costs in maintaining the underground tours.

The Government had suggested in 2010 that the mining museum might have to find its money elsewhere.

But yesterday staff at the museum were told that it will continue to get its annual grant through the National Museum of Science & Industry.

Museum director Dr Margaret Faull said the announcement had “improved staff morale enormously”.

The museum has had to trim its spending over recent years as the Government grant has been.

Further cuts will be made but the museum will remain open.

Staff numbers have been cut from 110 to 100 through a recruitment freeze and some voluntary redundancies.

The number of underground tours has also been reduced to save more money.

Dr Faull said the number of visitors had fallen from around 120,000 to 100,000, which she blamed on the recession.

Despite the drop in income and visitors, the museum can now look forward, thanks to the funding decision.

“This safeguards the future,” she said. “We have had enormous support from the Science Museum. We could not have raised £2.6m from anyone (else). Staff have been very worried as the discussions went on for the past 18 months.”