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Bourne Supremacy takes on Historic Delhi

No, not your 21st century CIA assassin, aka Jason Bourne, but our very own 19th century Staffordshire 'sharp shooter', Samuel Bourne (1834 – 1912).

An exhibition of rare photographs, including ones by this legendary and prolific photographer in India from 1863 to 1870, will be on display at the "Historic Delhi: Early Explorations of the Camera, c.1860-1950". Bourne's name is synonymous with British Indian photography, and also one of the most researched and highly-recognised colonial photographer.

Commencing on 1st October, the exhibition will showcase around a hundred vintage prints from the extensive Alkazi Collection of Photography, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. It also includes images by Lala Deen Dayal, as well as from local photo companies such as the Delhi Photo Company.

The coming of early photography to Delhi and other Northern states was influenced by pioneering professional
photographers, Bourne being one of them, from the later established the company of Bourne and Shepherd (still operating in Calcutta). Bourne’s determination to photograph the most picturesque and remote areas of Northern India resulted in the finest examples of scenic photography ever produced by a single photographer. His travels and photographic work was recorded in a string of articles in the British Journal of Photography in the late 1860s. With more than 2200 images in his catalog by the time he left India seven years later, in 1870, Bourne has to be considered one of the finest artistic photographers of his time.

The Alkazi Foundation’s exhibitions often seek to depict a history of photography in India through the shows. This exhibition too brings forth this pedagogic line of thought. Details of the exhibition can be found here.

Guess it's time for Matt Damon to retire ...

Photos: Samuel Bourne, Jama Masjid from Dariba Kalan, 1860s, Albumen Print. The Alkazi Collection of Photography; The Civil and Military Gazette Lahore, 22 October 1880, Courtesy: National Archives of Pakistan, Islamabad; Bourne and Shepherd, Begum of Bhopal at the 1911 Durbar, 1911. The Alkazi Collection of Photography
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Niépce - Now or Never!

As part of the 2-day Niépce in England Conference to be held next month in Bradford, participants will have a very unique and unprecedented opportunity (that may not be repeated in our lifetime) to view all three Niépce plates ‘out of their frames’.

These three artefacts, made on pewter plates, are among the finest examples of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's works and are part of the Royal Photographic Society collection. It will enable participants a rare chance toclosely examine the surfaces and reverse of these unique photographic treasures. The plates, and their conserved frames, will be on display
throughout the conference in the Kraszna-Krausz Print Viewing Room, in the NMeM Research Centre.

Speaking to the BBC,
Museum curator Philippa Wright said: "That they will all be on publicdisplay out of their frames for perhaps the last time is very special indeed."

The good news is that if you can't make it to the Conference, the plates can still be viewed by appointment at the museum until the end of October 2010.

Photos: Le Cardinal d'Amboise; Christ Carrying His Cross (Niépce heliographs)

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Like his cousin, Charles Darwin, Francis Galton (1822 - 1911), worked on the study of heredity. He founded the science of eugenics (the study of improving human races), and in 1865 documented his findings in his best-known work "Hereditary Genius, its Laws and Consequences". In the history of photography, one attributes to Galton the development of composite photography - a multiple exposure process in which he generated typological portraits.

As an anthropologist and statistician, Francis Galton embarked on a photographic mission in the late 1870s to produce “portraiture of the invisible.” Instead of making photographs of individual objects or things observable to the eye, Galton aimed to create photographs of ideas and concepts that encompassed all individuals within that class.

If you are a follower of his work, then there is a lecture on Galton's photographic work entitled "The Monstrous, the Meaningless, and Margins of Error", details of which can be found here.

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'Memory of Place' showcases a collection of images from the Musee d'Orsay's archives.

Running until November 28th 2010, this stunning exhibition offers examples of how photographers between 1840 and 1870 began to explore the possibilities of the art form as a way of remembering moments. The technology being used at the time made recording the "changing aspects of nature" quite difficult, according to the venue, but photographers such as Roger Fenton and George Barnard found they could capture images of important landscapes.

Details of the exhibition can be found here.

Photo: Roger Fenton (1819-1869) The Valley of the Shadow of Death 1856, taken in 1855
Salted paper print from a wet collodion glass negative
H. 28,4 ; W. 35,7 cm; Paris, Musée d'Orsay
© RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
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A Close-up: GR Lambert

I was fortunate enough to make a quick stop in Singapore last month to view the exhibition 'The Originals of GR Lambert' which is currently on show at the Philatelic Museum - as mentioned in an earlier blog.

According to the literature, Mr Lambert (b 1846), from Dresden, Germany, is one of the earliest commercial photographers in the region. The first mention of GR Lambert & Co was an advertisement
placed in the Singapore Daily Times in April 1867 to inform the local community of the opening of his studio on No 1 High Street. Mr Lambert produced high quantities of large format original photographs (8 x 10 inches) featuring local landscapes and people for sale to the public.

However, at the turn of the century,Mr Lambert and other professional photographers were challenged by the rise of family photographers and amateur photographic societies. As a result, they diversified their business quickly to producing postcards and servicing the needs of amateurs. This new century ushered in the profitable postcard craze which reached its greatest height of popularity from 1906 to 1913, a period which collectors refer to as the Golden Age of Picture Postcards.

The first picture postcard of Singapore was produced by Lambert in 1897. It was said that the company had a
turnover of about a quarter of a million postcards per year. The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 brought an abrupt end to this Golden Age, and Lambert & Co ceased operation when the war ended in 1918.

It is difficult to make any assessment of Mr Lambert's own photographic contribution as his presence in Singapore was sporadic. The firm was managed by Mr Alexander Koch, who entered the business as an assistant around 1883 to 1884. His position as Manager was taken over by Mr H T Jensen, who ran the
business from around 1908 to 1910.

Beautifully presented, curated and well worth a visit. The collection is donated by a Mr Koh Seow Chuan, an avid and renowned collector in Singapore. The exhibition only finishes on 2nd Jan 2011, so there is still time to pay a visit if you happen to be in the Far East. Highly recommended.
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NMeM under threat

The National Media Museum appears on a leaked list of public bodies under review for closure by the government. Incorrectly named as the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television the museum is directly funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. Other bodies which are under review include the National Archives and eighteen other museums and galleries in the UK. The British Library is to be retained.

The report is published here and the full leaked list published by the Daily Telegraph is here.

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Paul Nadar: 19th Century Photo Reportage

Paul Nadar (1856-1939) was the son of the celebrated nineteenth-century French photographer Felix Gaspard Tournachon, aka Nadar. Between the two of them, they achieved a number of 'firsts' in the history of photography including aerial photography, artificial lighting, patented a projection system for animating still pictures and what is believed to be the world's first photo-interview (their subject was a 101-year old chemist and color theorist, Michel-Eugène Chevreul). Paul Nadar was even a Kodak’s representative in France in 1893.

In 1890, he undertook a long trip which brought him to a WorldExhibition in Tashkent, the theme of this exhibition - From Turkey to Turkistan, 1890. Paul Nadar's "photo reportage" is one of the first in the history of photography.

He leftParis for Istanbul on a train and crossed the Black Sea. Having reached Batumi, he crosses the Caucasus through Tbilisi and Baku and arrives in Turkistan - present-day Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He travels the region in two months and takes around 1,200 photos of crowds of people in the bazaars and markets of Asia, the great sandy spaces of deserts, mosques, mausoleums and all the majestic vestiges of the exotic Eastern influences.

Details of this exhibition can be found here, but must warn you that it is held all the way in Uzbekistan!

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As mentioned in an earlier blog here, the other recent prized find by Oxfam volunteers of two extremely rare 19th century photo albums of Argentina taken by French photographer, Esteban Gonnet, managed to fetch £14,000 when it went under the hammer at a sale held yesterday by London auction house, Christie's. The estimate was between £3,000 and £4,000 and was sold to an anonymous bidder.

Oxfam said that this amount of money could buy safe water for 15,500 people or 560 goats to help families in developing countries. The lot description can be found here.

Photo: By French-born photographer Esteban Gonnet.
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History of Photography & The House of Bernadotte

To mark the bicentennial of Karl XIV Johan’s selection as heir to the Swedish throne, Nationalmuseum presents an exhibition of black-and-white portraits of the House of Bernadotte. No other Swedes have been so prolifically portrayed as their royal family.

The evolution of photography from the 1840s to the present day can betraced through portraits of Swedish royalty. When calling cards became popular in the mid-19th century, Karl XV was not slow to allow images of himself to be distributed for propaganda purposes. The featured artists from that era include Mathias Hansen and Bertha Valerius, who were practising at the time when portrait photography was becoming established as an art form and means of expression. Since photography was an international medium whose practitioners moved freely across borders, works by the Parisian photographers Mayer & Pierson and by Ludwig Angerer’s studio in Vienna appear alongside those of Hansen, a Norwegian.

The emphasis of the exhibition is on photography. The National PortraitCollection includes photographs of Bernadottes from the mid-19th century onward. These not only show what members of the Swedish royal family looked like; they also show how the art of portrait photography has evolved over the past 150 years.

Further details of the exhibition can be found here.

Photo: Lennart Nilsson (b. 1922), Gustav V, King of Sweden, 1950. © Lennart Nilsson.
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The Optical Magic Lantern Journal and Photographic Enlarger (OMLJ) was a British trade monthly that appeared from 1889 to 1903 and had a remit covering the magic lantern and illumination through to photography and the world of early cinema. The OMLJ featured news and opinions from each of the worlds and through its correspondence and advertising pages provides a unique insight into each of these areas at an important point in their history.

The publication only survives in a few national libraries and this limited edition DVD offers a rare opportunity for collectors, researchers, educational institutions and libraries to acquire a digitised run which is searchable electronically. The OMLJ covers a key period in the history of photography and the cinema. It appeared when the hand camera was rapidly being taken up by amateur photographers and at a point shortly before the motion picture camera was introduced. By the time of the OMLJ's demise in 1903 photography was widely practiced by amateurs and snapshooters and the cinema had evolved from its origins into a form of mass entertainment. The OMLJ through its editorial pages and advertisements charts these changes in detail.

This DVD provides a high-quality facsimile of all 5000 pages together with a searching tool supported by additional information around the personalities, companies and products that made up the industry at the time and which appears in the OMLJ pages.

The DVD From Magic Lantern to Movies (ISBN 978-0-9523011-1-0) is published on 15 October by PhotoResearch and costs £60 including UK and international airmail postage. It is designed to run on both Windows-based PCs and Apple Macs with Adobe Acrobat.

For more information and an order form click here.

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From now until the 27th September at the Bristol Central Library, there is an exhibition of 19th

century photographic prints of Bristol and the surrounding area, some of which are on loan from the Bristol Records Office and City Archive. The prints were produced using some of the very techniques and processes now being taught on workshops at the St. Paul’s Learning and Family Centre Darkrooms.

A recent grant of £14,525 from the Heritage Lottery Fund helped to revive and preserve some Photographic processes, dating back to the very origins of photography. The award to St Paul’s Learning and Family Centre Darkrooms in Bristol was to enable teachers, tutors and arts facilitators to learn the processes first created by Sir William Henry Fox-Talbot and Sir John Herschel, the Astronomer Royal, in the 1830s and 1840s. In addition, Justin Quinnell, the world-renowned practitioner of pinhole photography, presented workshops in the making and use of pinhole cameras. With this grant St Paul’s Darkrooms, the biggest and most extensively equipped public-access darkrooms in the South West, presented a series of workshops in albumen, gum-bichromate, cyanotype and salt-printing.

Alongside these photographs will be examples of work produced by attendees of these Heritage Lottery funded workshops.

Further details can be found in the BPH Events section.

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Auction: Antique Photographica Sale

No connection with the company whatsoever, but there is an interesting selection of reference books, cartes de visite, ephemera, cameras, magic lanterns, daguerreotypes, optical toys etc including British interests at a forthcoming online sale on 25th Sept. Details can be found here.
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New Face: Scottish National Portrait Gallery

This Edinburgh Gallery, which closed its doors to the public last April, is currently undergoing a massive £18 million transformation to turn it into a 21st-century museum marvel.

On time and in budget, it is expected to reopen in November 2011 with a newgallery that will house 50% more exhibition space. It hopes to boost visitor numbers by 50% to 300,000 a year or more.

The opening shows will include Romantic Camera, a survey of Scotland through the lens, from pioneering images by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson to giant Scottish landscapes commissioned by German photographer Michael Reisch. Three photography exhibitions a year will draw on the national collection of 40,000 photographs.

Photo: National Galleries of Scotland director general John Leighton and gallery director James Holloway.
Copyright: Jane Barlow, Scotsman.

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Christie's will be auctioning off an exclusive private collection of 74 daguerreotype photographs by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey in New York next month. Entitled "A Historic Photographic Grand Tour - Important Daguerreotypes by Philibert Girault de Prangey", it is expected to fetch in excess of $2 million, when they are put under the hammer on 7th October.

For decades, the name of Girault de Prangey had been a source of intrigue to scholars and collectors of early photography. A naturally gifted artist, he soon became one of the earliest masters of the medium. He also took part in the Grand Tour throughout Greece and Italy along with other 18th and 19th century artists and intellectuals.

The full sale catalogue can be found here.

Photo: Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, Rome. T. de la concorde. Ent. Inter., 1842. Daguerreotype. Estimate: $45,000-65,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.

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Raymond Moore

The late Raymond Moore (1920-87) created a special kind of landscape photograph. Much admired in his time, Moore's work has been hard to find in exhibitions in recent years. Tate Britain recently opened a display of British landscape photographs. Three Raymond Moores are included, of which two are recent gifts to Tate. The display is located in the last room on the right in the Clore on the ground floor.
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Cheltenham - Past and Present

A new book focussing on early 19th and 20th century images of regency Cheltenham will be launched at Waterstones in the Promenade on 25th September.

Entitled 'Cheltenham - Past and Present', it includes about 90 photographs from this period, with about 60 of them never seen before. The author, David Hanks, completed the book earlier this year for the History Press's national series, Britain in Old Photographs. The 61 year-old author who is also a member of the Cheltenham Local History Society said "The first portrait studio in the world was based in New York, and by August 1841 there was one here in Cheltenham."

One of the rarest photos is of the Old or Royal Well in 1849/1850. Which is believed to be the only photograph depicting this historic site.

The book is available for purchase by clicking and searching on the Amazon link on the right.
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Muybridge in Kingston Exhibitions

This autumn sees the launch of two brand new Muybridge in Kingston exhibitions, staged in Eadweard Muybridge’s hometown of Kingston upon Thames, running in parallel with a major Tate Britain retrospective on Muybridge’s pioneering work.

Muybridge Revolutions (18 Sept- 12 Feb 2011) opens almost exactly a century after the first ever Eadweard Muybridge exhibition at Kingston Museum. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other partners, this exhibition focuses on Muybridge’s unique projection device, the Zoöpraxiscope, and its relation to the history of the moving and projected image. It is privileged to be able to draw on Kingston Museums’ world class collection of Muybridge material bequeathed by the artist himself, which includes 68 of the 71 known Zoöpraxiscope discs worldwide - a stunning collection never before exhibited as the focus of a major exhibition and rarely seen by the public.

Contemporary Commissions at the Stanley Picker Gallery celebrates Muybridge’s lifetime's achievements through the eyes of two contemporary artists who have been given privileged access to rare material held at the Kingston Museum archives.

Please go to for full details and lecture programme
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The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, has selected artist Michal Heiman to receive the first Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography. Created in partnership with the Israel Museum, the new biannual prize aims to catalyze and support international research projects exploring theoretical and practical issues in photography. Ms. Heiman was selected from a pool of thirty-five finalist candidates from nine countries by a jury of leaders in the field—including Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Marta Gili, Director of the Jeu de Paume, Paris. Ms. Heiman will receive $40,000 to support her newly conceived project investigating the contribution of art to psychoanalysis, and vice versa.

Michal Heiman (b. 1954) is one of the most prolific artists in Israel today, presenting exhibitions of photography, painting, installation, and video, drawing on her extensive research in the fields of psychology and philosophy. The Shpilman Prize will support new research exploring the interaction between art and psychoanalysis, concentrating on the role of photography and visual imagery as frequently used diagnostic tools. Ms. Heiman will follow steps of the creators of visual psychological tests and investigate aspects of photography—among them portraiture, stereoscope, and World War I documentary imagery—that influenced and were influenced by such tests and consequently her own work too. Ms. Heiman plans to build two test boxes, ‘The Unthinkable I’ – For the People of the 21st Century and ‘The Unthinkable II’ – The Archive of Simultaneous Movement, to be presented and “performed” in an exhibition that will conclude the project. The Israel Museum will also produce a publication documenting this work.

“Ms. Heiman’s project is at once innovative and cross disciplinary. It is grounded in photography, but also touches upon psychology, sociology, and perception, with a solid theoretical basis and background,”
Nissan N. Perez, Horace and Grace Goldsmith Senior Curator of the Israel Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography. “We are proud to recognize Ms. Heiman with this first Shpilman Prize, particularly because of the groundbreaking nature of her project.”

Shpilman Prize submissions were reviewed by a pre-selection committee from the srael Museum to ensure that applications complied with the prize regulations and to assess the validity of the projects proposed. Seventeen applications were brought to the consideration of a jury of international experts in the field of photography, including, in addition to Mr. Perez:

  • Dr. Shlomo Lee Abrahmov (Yakum, Israel) – Artist, Researcher, and Lecturer, Holon Institute of Technology andShenkar College of Engineering and Design, representing the Shpilman family;
  • Mr. Peter Galassi (New York) – Chief Curator of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art; New York;
  • Ms. Marta Gili (Paris) – Director, Jeu de Paume;
  • Prof. Hanan Laskin (Tel Aviv) – Founder, Photography Department, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, and academic advisor to art schools and other cultural institutions in Israel.
“I have no doubt that the Shpilman Prize will be embraced as one of photography’smost distinguished honors, not least because it is designed to encourage newwork,” said Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography of The Museum of Modern Art. “It has an ideal home in the Department of Photographyof the Israel Museum, which has grown and been enrichednotably since the Museum’s early years, under the direction of Senior CuratorNissan Perez, who so ably guided the jury process.”

A lecturer and curator for the Bezalel Academy of Art and Designin Jerusalem,and the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Arts and the Advanced StudiesPsychotherapy Program at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Michal

Heiman’s interdisciplinary practice includes installation, painting, photography, and video. Her work is often based on extensive research in the fields of psychology and philosophy and centers on the themes of psychoanalysis, clinical research, the history of art, politics, and the gender debate. Among her major works are the series Photo Rape (2003) and I was There (2005), as well as the video series Daughtertype (2006-2008) and Attacks on Linking (2003-2006). In 1997, Ms. Heiman represented Israel at Documenta X in Germany, where she first operated Michal Heiman Test (MHT) No. 1, arranged along the lines of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)—a personality test used by psychologists in which viewers react to images presented in a box. Ms. Heiman continued her testing series with Michal Heiman Test (MHT) No. 2 – My Mother-in-Law – Test for Women, presented in France, Israel, and Japan. She is also recognized for her lectures on the British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion (1897-1979) and on the French artists Claude Cahun, Christian Boltanski, and Sophie Calle.

Michal Heiman was nominated for the Shpilman Prize by Professor Hannah Naveh, Dean of The Faculty of Arts, Tel Aviv University.

The Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography

Recognizing photography as a leading contemporary cultural medium, the Shpilman Prize was initiated by the Shpilman family and the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation together with the Israel Museum with the joint objectives of stimulating, encouraging, and cultivating international research projects in photography and of broadening the range of photographic investigations which integrate theoretical issues with practical ones. The $40,000 prize is awarded by an international jury once every two years, resulting in a publication by the Israel Museum, and if suitable, an exhibition. Nominations for the 2012 prize will be accepted beginning October 1, 2011.

Prospective candidates include artists and scholars in photography with a proven record of past achievement who intend to undertake a research project of consequence in the field of photography. Candidates for the prize must be nominated by experienced professionals in art and/or photography affiliated with non-commercial artistic, cultural, or academic institutions. The projects submitted are reviewed and judged by an independent jury of internationally recognized experts. Prize regulations are available online at

The Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography is supported by an endowment gift of $1 million from the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation, with the goal of expanding the core activities of the Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography. Mr. Shalom Shpilman, a philanthropist and businessman based in Tel Aviv, with a long-standing interest in the promotion of photographic scholarship and discovery has also recently founded the Shpilman Institute for Photography (SIP), dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of photographic knowledge.

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Award winning, visionary and truly unique, the National Media Museum embraces photography, film, television, radio and the web. Part of the NMSI family of museums, we aim to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues.

Audience Researcher – Internet Gallery Project
£17,500 - £18,500

It’s vital to the continued success of the organisation that our exhibitions, websites, programmes and products are appealing to as wide an audience as possible; and that our continued development is always done in an audience centred and customer focused way. This is why this role is vital, ensuring that through thorough research techniques, audience feedback and comprehensive reporting, we understand the direction we need to go, what we do right and possibly wrong. Reporting to the Senior Audience Researcher based at the Science Museum, we need a team player with proven research skills in data collection, analysis, interpretation, report creation and presentation. An appreciation of new media would be an advantage as would experience gained within an audience-focused and/or learning environment. The pace is fast. You need to be able to work independently, display excellent communication skills and have a passion for your subject. Overall, this is an exciting role for a talented research professional who wants to make a deep and lasting contribution to a very popular national ‘iconic’ visitor experience.

Required Skills:
For a full job description please email
Application Instructions:
Interested? Please send your CV and covering letter to clearly stating which role you wish to apply for.

Closing date 22nd September at noon

We welcome applications from all sections of the community in which we work. We particularly welcome applications from disabled people and we guarantee interviews to suitably qualified disabled applicants.

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NMeM may charge for entry

The Yorkshire Post reports that there is increasing speculation that the the National Media Museum may have to start charging admission. It reports that: The organisation which runs York's National Railway Museum and Bradford's National Media Museum is also "planning for a range of scenarios" and has refused to rule out changes to opening times as it waits to find out how badly the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) budget is cut in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Institutions categorised as national museums – which includes the National Coal Mining Museum, National Railway Museum, National Media Museum and the Royal Armouries in Yorkshire – offer free admission, and Ministers have been keen to insist that will continue.

They receive grants directly from Government but DCMS officials have written to them enquiring about the possible impact of funding cuts of 25 to 30 per cent.

The department itself is threatened with cuts of up to 40 per cent.

Read the full story here.

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