The Royal B.C. Museum hopes a blockbuster summer exhibit helps it weather a $300,000 reduction in provincial funding.
The museum’s provincial grant will be reduced to $11.86 million in 2013-14 from $12.16 million in 2012-13, according to budget figures released this week.
It’s not good news — but the $300,000 trim is less than the museum anticipated, said Angela Williams, chief of museum operations, on Wednesday.
“We’ll be able to make do with this program reduction. And it’s not going to alter our program plans,” Williams said. “And we are not increasing admission.”
In part, the museum aims to cope by selling more tickets. Williams said this year’s May-to-September exhibition, Race to the End of the Earth, should help achieve that goal.
The exhibition chronicles the separate 3,000-kilometre journeys of Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Capt. Robert Falcon Scott of the British Royal Navy. Each sought to be the first to reach the South Pole in 1911-12. The show will include photographs, paintings and original artifacts.
The museum has released a service plan that anticipates increasing admission revenues by $277,000 annually. The plan forecasts 450,000 visitors this season, with that growing to 480,000 by 2015-16.
Overall, the provincial budget cut $20 million in annual funding to Crown corporations, said Bill Bennett, minister of community, sport and cultural Development.
“RBCM was not singled out but rather asked to contribute to this important corporate priority,” Bennett said.
“Government asked [Crown corporations] to look at measures such as salary freeze for executive and management staff, restrictions on discretionary travel and limiting furniture and office expenses.”
The museum, now operating on a $19.5-million budget, anticipates its overall revenues will drop by $134,000 next season. Williams said it would reduce costs in a variety of areas. A hiring freeze will continue, although staffing will not be reduced.
The cut in provincial funding will not affect capital projects, she added.
Earlier, the museum had said it would announce by September plans for a major redevelopment at its downtown site.
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