Urgently reverse current and future cuts to the UK Imperial War Museum's annual operating grant in aid so that it can maintain services and preserve its standing as an international centre for study, research and education.
One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, the Imperial War Museum is under threat.
The Museum is facing an annual deficit of £4m because of cuts in government funding.
It has drawn up proposals to:
• close its unique library and dispose of the majority of its collection
• cut important education services
• cut 60-80 jobs
• close the widely emulated ‘Explore History’ facility in London.
The Museum’s library gives ordinary people access to research materials on all aspects of British and Commonwealth involvement in conflict since 1914.
Prospect trade union believes the world's leading authority on conflict will be irreparably damaged by the £4m deficit.
It has launched this petition to help ensure that the Imperial War Museum continues to provide for, and encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and ‘wartime experience'.
Please show your support by signing today.
Imperial War Museum Library
The Imperial War Museum Library is a collecting department in its own right and plays a key role in helping IWM staff do their jobs - curating exhibitions, helping to identify and understand artefacts and furthering their own knowledge.
IWM aspires to be a highly-respected authority on its subject matter, but this will be impossible without a library.
Once the Library and its professional staff are gone, the damage will be done.
It will be impossible to replace this unique collection of primary and secondary printed materials and the dedicated people who care for them and make them available to the public - remotely or in person.
The Library acquired its first item in April 1917 - a programme for a 'Dick Whittington' pantomime staged by the 85th Field Ambulance in Salonika - and has been a vital part of the Museum ever since.
The Research Room
The Research Room, available to all for more in-depth research, will continue to operate but at a reduced level, and without access to library materials.
These materials are vital for providing context to personal papers and interviews and are the most commonly used items in the Research Room.
IWM attracted 433,000 learners in 2013-14 and 256,000 children took part in its on and off-site education programmes.
School educational visits to the paying branches at Duxford, HMS Belfast and Churchill War Rooms, with on-site teaching sessions led by museum and education professionals, are under threat.
The Museum is justifying the cuts at these original historic sites because of changes to the national curriculum and their ‘narrower exhibition focus’.
Formal education bookings at Duxford are steady and IWM London is already full to capacity.
‘Explore History’ attracted 55,000 visitors in 2013. It is a popular resource open to all, seven days a week, allowing the public to explore IWM’s collections and find out about objects or subjects not on display.
Westminster government funding
IWM was founded in 1917 as a place of study and memorial. Its London museum was refurbished at a cost of £40m and re-opened in July 2014. Demand for its services has never been higher.
IWM is successful in generating its own revenue - less than 50 per cent of its funding comes from the Westminster government, but that income is vital to the organisation's future.
IWM has faced funding cuts over several years but has not yet suffered the mass redundancies and reorganisations that have occurred in other national museums and galleries.
But the cuts announced in November 2014 will put the Museum’s educational and research functions in danger and experienced professional staff will be forced to leave.
Prospect fears that this is only the start and that further damaging cuts are likely unless there is widespread public support to maintain adequate levels of funding.
Please sign our petition and consider making a donation to IWM here: https://www.justgiving.com/iwm/ highlighting that your donation is a response to Prospect's petition.
- Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
- Chancellor of the Exchequer
Rt Hon George Osborne MP (Chancellor of the Exchequer)
The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
I, the undersigned request that you urgently reverse current and future cuts to the Imperial War Museum's annual operating grant in aid.
Since it was founded in 1917 the IWM has been recognised internationally as a leading authority on conflict. Following a major refurbishment coinciding with the centenary of the start of the First World War, it now faces an annual deficit of £4m and the loss of up to 80 staff, its vital library and the function it carries out.
I call on you to ensure that IWM is provided with adequate funds to maintain the services it provides to its visitors and to maintain its standing as an international centre for study, research and education.
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