Somerset

Coronavirus: Holburne Museum sets £50k fundraising target

Bath's Holburne Museum Image copyright Evoke Pictures
Image caption The Holburne Museum has furloughed all of its staff

A 130-year-old art museum at risk of permanent closure because of the coronavirus lockdown is seeking to raise £50,000 to secure its future.

Bath's first public museum, The Holburne Museum, closed on 18 March.

The independent Grade I-listed venue receives no government funding and has lost its regular income from tickets, events, its shop and cafe.

Managers say it only has funds for a few more weeks and have turned to crowdfunding to help save it.

Image copyright Evoke Pictures
Image caption Artist Grayson Perry launched his latest exhibition at the Holburne Museum

It is home to more than 4,000 paintings and porcelain objects from the Sir Thomas William Holburne collection.

Director Chris Stephens said: "The Holburne receives no public funding whatsoever so, when we closed we lost all our income other than donations.

"Frustratingly, and fortunately, our current exhibition - Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years - is the most popular show we have ever had.

"So we had some cash in the bank, but only enough to last a few weeks.

"The crowdfunding is a way of raising emergency funds from people who love the Holburne but who we maybe don't know, and to raise awareness of our plight."

Image copyright Evoke Pictures
Image caption Bosses at the Holburne Museum say they only have enough funds to sustain them for a few weeks

All but five of the museum's 25 staff have been furloughed and the museum has raised just over £23,000 of its intended target so far.

Mr Stephens said the Holburne would also be looking into Arts Council funding, as well as donations from past donors and patrons, and had already taken advantage of government measures such as the business rates holiday and VAT deferral.

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