A National Acquisitions Fund

I have been asked by Bendor Grosvenor for my thoughts on the long-standing idea of a National Acquisitions Fund, either on or off-the-record, in the light of the Art Fund’s report Why Collect ?  I am happy for my views to be on the record, which are that many people have forgotten that when the Heritage Lottery Fund was first established in 1993, it was hoped that it would end forever the endless short-termism and crisis management in major museum acquisitions and provide a systematic national source of funding for acquisitions alongside the National Heritage Memorial Fund.   I remember John Murdoch, the then Deputy Director of the V&A, saying that it would not take long for the Treasury to commandeer it for its own purposes, and this indeed is exactly what has happened:  it is used as a source of replacement, rather than supplementary funding, on the capital side.   So, the lack of a National Acquisitions Fund remains and one of John Major’s hopes of the lottery was still-born.


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