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New opening hours for Lancaster City Council’s museums

Lancaster City Council has revised the opening hours at its three museums to help meet the financial challenges it faces while continuing to protect and steward local heritage.

Lancaster City Museum

Lancaster City Museum

Along with many other local authorities the city council is battling against unprecedented pressures caused by a perfect storm of rising costs and inflation, increasing demand for services, and below-inflation funding from the Government.

To address the council’s significant financial deficit, immediate savings of £2.4million were agreed at Full Council in February 2023 to balance the books.

These savings are in the process of being implemented and from October 1 include some changes to the opening times at the three museums the city council owns and operates in Lancaster.

  • Lancaster City Museum & King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum will open to the public from 10.30am – 4pm, 5 days per week (Friday – Tuesday). This is a reduction of one day a week
  • Maritime Museum will open to the public 12pm – 4pm, 4 days per week (Friday – Monday). This is a reduction of three days per week
  • The Cottage Museum will open to the public 1pm – 4pm, Saturdays only April-September. This is a reduction of six days per week

While the council’s own perilous financial situation means it is having to make savings from its own budget, it is looking to exploit external funding opportunities to make improvements to the museums.

Applications have been submitted to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to improve the visitor experience and offer at the City and Maritime Museums with better entrance areas, retail facilities, and a digital display to increase accessibility at the City Museum.

Councillor Catherine Potter, cabinet member with responsibility for the visitor economy, community wealth building and culture, said: “As with all the changes being made to the council’s services, this is a step we have taken with great reluctance but one that was necessary.

“The financial challenges being faced by local government are well documented and just recently we have seen a number of councils signalling that they are effectively bankrupt.

“Our own financial issues are not quite as severe because of the decisive action that was taken back in February to balance the books, but this did mean having to find savings of £2.4million.

“Having said that, the district’s heritage is a source of great local pride for residents and we wanted to find a solution what would maintain and operate our outstanding museums while reducing our significant financial support for the service.

“By making these changes to the opening hours we have taken care to balance the need to make savings while at the same time ensuring the museums are open on the most popular days for visitors.”

The City Museums are run by a dedicated, knowledgeable and enthusiastic team who will continue to develop the work of the service. Over the summer they welcomed many families to their popular holiday activities and have been working hard to increase income to support the work of the museums.

They are also working with a number of other local organisations such as Escape2Make, the Dukes, Lancaster Black History Group and the School of Engineering at Lancaster University in order to make the museums as accessible as possible to everyone.

Last updated: 18 September 2023

Lancaster City Council logogram

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