Museum plans to boost visitor numbers after downward trend
The Black Country Living Museum today revealed plans to boost visitor numbers and increase revenue to fund future investment in the site.
Around 240,000 people visited the heritage museum in Dudley during 2013- continuing a downward trend since 2009.
This led to the museum, in Tipton Road, Dudley, making a loss of around £15,000 last year according to latest accounts.
But bosses say they are optimistic as this was much improved from losses of £300,000 posted in the previous year.
Officials today revealed they have drawn up new ways of bringing in more visitors - and have set a target of 254,000 visitors in 2014 to break-even.
Bosses want to earn more income through the museum's famous fish and chips and its pub, called the Bottle and Glass, this year to cut remaining losses.
Museum director and chief executive Andrew Lovett today said problems with high running costs at the attraction had been 'fixed' and he was confident that visitor numbers would rise.
It comes after the museum heard news earlier this month that it will receive a £2,658,000 grant from Arts Council England.
Mr Lovett today said: "Although we need - and gets lots of - support with large developments at the museum and to allow us to do special projects, we rely on our own efforts to attract paying visitors to meet our everyday costs; amounting to about £4 million each year.
"To do this in 2014 we need to welcome a little over 250,000 visitors. It's what many businesses would call their break-even point."
Overall in the financial update, the museum revealed it made a trading loss of £15,491 but officials said this was an 'enormously positive improvement' on the year before.
"In 2013 we made a very small trading loss of £15,000, compared to 2012 when the loss was almost £300,000 because our costs were too high," said Mr Lovett.
"And although we have fixed that issue, we want to attract an ever-increasing number of visitors and to earn more income from things like our fish and chip shop, baker's, pub and our gift shop, so that we can invest in the site and continue to provide a really special visit."
Museum bosses say they were also helped after Government ministers axed proposed changes to the school curriculum.
These could have resulted in a fall in the number of school bookings which could have cost around £250,000.
The museum has also drawn up a series of objectives for the future as part of the annual review.
Proposals have been tabled to create a schools' reception centre and for a refurbishment plan for the tram way.
A master plan is being drawn up for the museum site and the attraction also wants to take on more volunteers.
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