In the last few days I have received feedback from a number of people who feel strongly about the Museum hiring one of our spaces to Farnborough International Ltd (FIL) for the official welcome reception for this year’s Farnborough International Airshow. I wanted to give more context to this aspect of the Museum’s work.
Alongside the other national museums, the Natural History Museum benefits from Government funding which enables us to care for our internationally important collections, to carry out societally relevant scientific research using the collections and to welcome nearly 5 million visitors a year free of charge. The current economic climate means public funding is decreasing across the public sector. So to ensure we can continue our work we have to increase our self-generated income.
Hiring out our spaces for events is a critical part of how we can do this, alongside retail and catering, seeking academic research grants for scientific work and attracting philanthropic support from individuals and companies.
A wide range of charities, companies, government bodies and individuals use us for a range of different events through the year. Whether it’s for a wedding or a corporate drinks reception, we consider and treat those hiring our spaces as customers. Their private events are not partnerships or sponsorships, and the hirers do not have any association with the Museum beyond the rental of the space. Hiring part of our building as a venue is not an expression of support or endorsement from the Museum.
I feel that the income generated from venue hire is a very valuable source of revenue which enables us to continue our work. I respect your right to hold different views.
Director of the Natural History Museum
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