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Posts by David Fleming

Liverpool, World Heritage Site

11 October 2013 by David Fleming

Merseyside Maritime Museum on sunny day with boats in dock

There is much activity surrounding Liverpool’s World Heritage Site status at the moment. For those of you who have missed it, much of Liverpool city centre has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, in recognition of the city’s remarkable wealth of buildings and structures that relate to the period when Liverpool was the premier port in the British Empire. This means that Liverpool’s heritage is ranked alongside the cities of Bruges, Prague and Salzburg and other celebrated heritage sites around the world such as Angkor Wat temple complex and the Taj Mahal – there are 981 in all, 28 of them in the UK. Read more…

How much does it cost?

26 July 2013 by David Fleming

Woman and child putting money in donation box at Museum of Liverpool

Copyright Mark McNulty

 Museums are being urged by Government to raise money from all possible sources to cope with the cuts that are being made in public funding. But how realistic is it that public funding can be replaced by money from elsewhere? Read more…

The important work of the Social Justice Alliance of Museums

15 July 2013 by David Fleming

Staff in anti slavery t shirt looking at text panel on wall

I have been working on setting up the Social Justice Alliance of Museums (SJAM) – an international network of museums and related bodies that believe in the concept of social justice. Read more…

Can we afford Liverpool’s cultural heritage?

4 July 2013 by David Fleming

The landmark buildings on Liverpool's waterfront

Pier Head, part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

I have been working this week on a Report for the Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Joe Anderson, on the city’s cultural heritage – the nature of it, the challenges, how to care for what we have, how to attract visitors to Liverpool, funding for the heritage itself etc etc. If the Report is any good, it will become a model in which other cities around the world will be very interested: the care and ‘use’ of our cultural heritage is a global issue, and the heritage sector has not been especially intelligent in explaining the whys and wherefores to sceptics, many of whom have a simple belief that looking after our cultural heritage is a luxury we cannot afford. Read more…

Should we charge international visitors?

28 June 2013 by David Fleming

Picture of David and Simon being filmed for The One Show

Simon and I being filmed for The One Show

Simon Calder, the travel writer and broadcaster, interviewed me for The One Show last week because of the growing public interest in the impact cuts in government funding are having on museums, an interest that reached something of a peak when the London-based Science Museum announced that it might have to close one of its northern ‘branches’ in Manchester, Bradford and York if its budgets were cut further.

Simon had a suggestion about admission charges. He agrees that admission charges for British taxpayers would lead to a drop in the number of people who visit museums, which cannot be a good thing, so he wasn’t advocating that. And we can’t charge EU citizens if we don’t charge British citizens, according to EU law. His proposal is that that we should charge non-EU citizens only. Read more…

Charge admission for national museums?

7 June 2013 by David Fleming

Photo of young people enjoying paintings at the Walker Art Gallery

As Director of National Museums Liverpool, this week I found myself discussing with Brian Sewell (on BBC Radio 5 Live) whether the nation can afford free access to national museums. Sewell is an outspoken character who expresses extreme views on a range of subjects, including, I recollect, all things northern. Not my ideal choice of debating partner as I usually disagree vehemently with what he says, but no-one told me beforehand that he would be sharing the airspace with me, so I was taken by surprise. As it turned out, Sewell was quite mild on the subject of admission charges to national museums, and at one stage he actually said he’s not in favour (but is merely in favour of considering the reintroduction of charges). Read more…

Strasbourg success

26 April 2013 by David Fleming

Council of Europe

The UK does badly nowadays in the Eurovision Song Contest. So, either our national musical proficiency has declined, or the UK simply isn’t everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to European voting. It is something of a special surprise then that there is one European vote that the UK has won recently – when the Museum of Liverpool was awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2013. On Tuesday 23 April I was in the beautiful city of Strasbourg to collect the award, in the magnificent Palais Rohan. Read more…