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Welsh Culture Secretary tells Senedd that crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds will not force National Museum Cardiff to close.

Exterior view of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff picture in 2021
The Welsh Culture Secretary said that National Museum Cardiff is not closing

National Museum Cardiff will receive funding to remain open, the Welsh Culture Secretary has told the Senedd, following concerns that the building may have to close due to maintenance issues and a £3m grant cut from the government.

Lesley Griffiths, who was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice last month, was asked about the museum's future after the organisation’s Chief Executive, Jane Richardson, told the BBC that without securing extra funding, “[it] will have to close.”

Responding to a question from Plaid Cymru's spokesperson for culture, Heledd Fychan, Griffiths said that she wanted to "reassure everyone the National Museum is not closing" and indicated that the organisation would receive additional funding.


Welsh Government has steadfastly defended sweeping cuts to arts and cultural organisations in its 2024/25 budget, which reprioritises £16m of funding away from culture, sport, and tourism.

In a statement to Arts Professional last week, a government spokesperson said: “We have been clear that our budget is up to £700m less in real terms than when it was set in 2021, and we have had to take extremely difficult decisions.”

First Minister Vaughan Gething defended the cuts to Wales' National Museum on 15 April, saying they resulted from prioritising the NHS after a decade of austerity. 

However, two days later, Griffiths told the Senedd that despite not having a large budget, National Museum Cardiff remaining open was "a cross-government issue" and that work had begun to look at "specific funding over the next few years".

She said that the museum has been asked to present a business plan by mid-May and that its management is identifying strategies for "raising revenue" but added that entry fees "[are] not one of them."

"It's an iconic building. These collections are not ours; we just look after them," she said. "It's really important that we do safeguard them."

Fychan agreed: "None of us want to see National Museum Cardiff, the headquarters of our iconic National Museums, have to close its doors because it is not safe for visitors, staff and our national collections".

£90m repair backlog

Sector leaders have expressed concern following Richardson's comments, which also revealed that at least 90 jobs were being cut from Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) to mitigate its £3m grant reduction and a £1.5m year-on-year deficit.

Richardson explained that water leakage and failing electricity at the Cardiff site, coupled with a "massive capital problem", were putting the collection at risk. She has previously estimated that across all seven of Museum Wales’ sites, there is a £90m repair backlog.

In response to the cuts, members of the Prospect union have written to Griffiths to request an urgent meeting, while a petition to increase funding for Amgueddfa Cymru has received nearly 12,000 signatures.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Wales Art Show, artist Rebecca Hardy Griffiths said: “How has it got to this point? There needs to be an investigation into how the neglect of this building got to the severity of this situation.”

Protecting culture

Opposition parties have also strongly criticised the Labour Welsh Government over the cuts, with some seizing the opportunity to draw a contrast with Keir Starmer’s pledge to end "the war on culture" if elected at the next General Election.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Giffard called upon the Labour government in Wales to “scrap its vanity projects” and instead use those funds “to protect our cultural history."

Fychan, said: “The reality is that 25 years of Labour rule has seen our culture and heritage institutions cut to the bone."

She continued: "We’re now seeing job losses, museums potentially closing, and national collections at risk.

"The new Cabinet Secretary for Culture must fully grasp the seriousness of the situation and take urgent action to safeguard our national collection and the workforce that cares for them.

"A country so rich in its history, heritage and culture cannot risk losing its national memory.

“The irony is that while Starmer pleads that a UK Labour government will end the war on culture, their track record in Wales says the opposite."

A headshot of Mary Stone